Fingerprints missing for hundreds of refugees

Fingerprints missing for hundreds of refugees
A refugee being fingerprinted in Thuringia. Photo: DPA.
German immigration authorities confirmed on Thursday that there are hundreds of registered asylum seekers who have not yet had their fingerprints or photographs taken.

A spokeswoman for the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) said that the number of asylum seekers who have not yet gotten their fingerprints or photographs taken is estimated to be in the four-figure range.

The exact number will be counted now that officials have begun an assessment.

The spokeswoman explained that states had reported last year that all registered asylum applicants had been properly recorded.

But since then, BAMF received “subsequent reports” that not all had been completely registered.

Since the end of 2015, all refugees at the borders have been registered either by the federal police or BAMF. If their fingerprints were not taken during this initial registration, they should have been during the asylum application process.

The report comes as BAMF re-examines tens of thousands of positive asylum decisions after it emerged that a German soldier and alleged far-right extremist managed to gain asylum status through a fake identity.

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The Interior Ministry said on Wednesday that officials will analyze 80,000 to 100,000 cases starting in the summer. The ministry acknowledged that some mistakes had already been found in documentation.

Despite speaking no Arabic, soldier Franco Albrecht had pretended to be a Syrian refugee when he obtained asylum, with the intention of committing a terrorist act that he would then blame on his fake identity, according to investigators.

The case has raised questions about far-right leanings within the military, as well as about the government’s ability to properly handle the roughly one million asylum seekers who have come to Germany over the past two years.