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State leaders call for faster asylum processes

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State leaders call for faster asylum processes
Refugees at a temporary reception centre in Baden Württemberg. Photo: DPA
09:07 CEST+02:00
Several state leaders called for more investment in processing asylum applications over the weekend as the backlog continues to put severe strain on current infrastructure.

“The federal government agreed to speed up asylum processes, but until now too little has actually happened,” said Bolo Ramelow, Minister-President of Thuringia and member of die Linke (the Left Party).

Without proper legal status asylum seekers aren't offered internships, training posts or jobs," he pointed out, saying “we want to integrate them”.

Ramelow said that the government had not fulfilled a promise to build centres for the quick processing of asylum applications.

Hannelore Kraft, Minister-President in North Rhine-Westphalia, of the Social Democratic Party (SPD), called on the federal government to increase the capacity of the Ministry for Migrants and Refugees (BAMF).

“We need more decision-makers. We need more people at the ministry for immigration and refugees,” she said.

According to BAMF the processing of an asylum application lasts on average 5.3 months at the moment – an improvement on 2014 when the number was 7.1 months.

Erwin Sellering, Minister-President of Meckenburg-Western Pomerania, from the SPD said on NDR that it is a “humanitarian necessity to help and protect people” who are persecuted. But at the same time those who are not must be sent home more quickly, he added.

In July almost 80,000 asylum applications were lodged with BAMF, the highest amount ever recorded in a single month.

German states have struggled to cope with the influx and have called some civil servants out of retirement while transferring others from other departments.

In the over-crowded housing for asylum seekers there have been problems with violence. Over the weekend fights broke out at a housing centre in Erfurt and a camp in Dresden. In Bonn police shot a man who is alleged to have injured an employee of a housing centre.

Speaking to Bild, Peter Atmaier of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and the Minister of the Chancellery, said politicians had underestimated the size of the problem.

“For about ten years we had low numbers of refugees. Because of that many people have underestimated new developments,” he said.

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