4,500 asylum cases to be re-examined after Bremen migration office scandal
Following a scandal at the Federal Office for Immigration and Refugees (BAMF) Bremen branch, over 4,500 asylum cases will be re-examined and tougher policies put in place.
A former director at a BAMF branch office granted at least 1,200 people asylum even though proper conditions were not met, a joint media investigation revealed last week.
Federal prosecutors are currently examining the ex-official, who is said to have made the asylum decisions between 2013 and 2016 with the aid of a team of lawyers. In most cases, the applicants were said to be Yazidis, a Kurdish religious minority.
In response to the case, the Federal Ministry of the Interior is promising more thorough examinations of asylum seekers, said Stephan Mayer, Parliamentary State Secretary for the Ministry of the Interior, on Wednesday.
The BAMF has already began a new quality assurance system, in place since September, with a focus on procedural errors, a spokesperson for the Interior Ministry told DPA. To better assess applications, several new employees have been hired and the “four eyes principle” is now being put in place.
The stricter protocols were welcomed by Bundestag (German parliament) migration spokeswoman Linda Teuteberg, who called the review “overdue.”
“Only in this way can we really grasp the scale of the problems and restore citizens’ trust in an orderly, constitutional process,” said Teuteberg.
Yet Die Linke (Left party) politician Ulla Jelpke criticized the tougher procedures, saying that they would scare applicants in desperate need of protection. "It shouldn’t be refugees who have to pay for the mistakes of a systematically overburdened authority,” she said.
BAMF’s structural problems go deeper than the Bremen case demonstrates, said spokesperson for the Green party's refugee policy, Luise Amtsberg.
"For years we have been calling for consultations about the asylum procedures, the employment of qualified interpreters and training and supervision of those making asylum decisions,” she said.
“Nothing has happened so far.”