Asylum deportations doubled in 2015
Almost twice as many people were deported after having their asylum application rejected in 2015 as the previous year, a newspaper reported on Wednesday.
Citing unreleased figures from the Interior Ministry, the Dresden-based Sächsische Zeitung reported that 20,888 people were forced to leave the country over the course of last year.
That was a big increase over the 10,884 removed in 2014.
But many more people left Germany voluntarily when required to do so by the authorities, for a total of 37,220 departures.
Almost 90 percent of those who left willingly came from the western Balkan nations – including Ablania, Kosovo, and Serbia - declared "safe countries of origin" by the German government last year in a bid to stem the flow of refugees.
Meanwhile, Germany is currently engaged in furious diplomacy with North African nations Morocco, Tunisia and Algeria to smooth the way for the return of failed asylum applicants.
They have so far proved unwilling to take back their citizens whose applications are rejected, especially when they lack identity documents.
Vice-Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel on Monday threatened the Maghreb countries with blocked aid payments unless they accepted deportees.
Small fraction of a huge number
Combined, willing and forced departures made a total of 58,108 removals of failed asylum applicants over the whole year – although some may have left without officially registering their departure.
But that's a small fraction – just over five percent – of the total 1.1 million refugees registered over the course of 2015.
Of those, 477,000 registered asylum applications – the highest number in the history of the Federal Republic of Germany.
The number of arrivals have made Germany the biggest destination country for refugees in the European Union.
The Federal Agency for Migration and Refugees is currently training up thousands of new workers to deal with its massive backlog of files, desperate to restore its image after the departure of its president under a cloud last September.