Germany’s Border Crackdown Raises Concerns over Control of Illegal Migration

Germany is facing a rise in irregular migration, prompting the government to implement temporary border checks. However, reports from a rural border district reveal that there is still a lack of control over the situation. The town of Altenberg, located in Saxony near the Czech Republic, has become a frequent drop-off point for smugglers, who leave people stranded in the area. This influx of new arrivals is straining local services and causing concerns among local residents, who often find evidence of migrant camps in the woods. The issue of migration has become a major topic in the national debate, with the far right capitalizing on the issue and gaining traction in regional elections. The recent increase in people entering Germany illegally is the highest monthly figure since early 2016. Asylum seekers continue to see Germany as a top destination, with the country receiving 30 percent of all applications in August. Amidst this backdrop, the government is starting to take action to address the situation. Plans to speed up deportations of failed asylum seekers are being introduced, and Chancellor Olaf Scholz is seeking to boost the number of returns. However, critics argue that border checks and fast-tracked asylum applications are not effective solutions. Some experts suggest reviving and expanding agreements with countries like Turkey to stem the flow of migrants. Others propose processing asylum claims in the countries that migrants pass through on their way to the EU. This collision of factors has created a complex migration debate in Germany. Efforts to tackle irregular migration are juxtaposed with the need for skilled foreign workers to fill labor shortages in the country. Additionally, Germany has taken in a significant number of people from Ukraine following Russia’s invasion. Meanwhile, the far-right AfD party is gaining support due to perceived government failures in addressing the migration issue. The current situation raises concerns about whether lessons have been learned from the 2015 migration crisis and the level of preparedness for future challenges.