Seehofer complained to fellow party leaders in Munich that he had engaged Merkel in a “conversation with no effect” Saturday about his plan to turn away asylum seekers already registered in other EU countries, the sources said.
Merkel is engaged in a fight for her political survival with the rebellious CSU, which has pressured her for weeks to get tough on immigration and asylum as it fears being outflanked to the right by anti-immigrant, anti-Islam Alternative for Germany (AfD).
The chancellor rejects Seehofer's plan for Germany to unilaterally turn away at the border already-registered asylum seekers, preferring to seek cooperation with Germany's neighbours.
At her urging, EU leaders last week agreed to a slew of measures to reduce immigration to the bloc and so-called “secondary migration” of asylum seekers between countries.
Merkel also said she had struck deals with 16 other countries for them to take back already-registered asylum seekers, although central European nations including Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Slovakia denied any such agreement.
If Seehofer rejects Merkel's approach and orders border police to begin turning away already-registered asylum seekers, she would be forced to fire him, effectively exploding her conservative camp and robbing her ruling coalition with the Social Democratic Party (SPD) of a majority in parliament.