Symbol image church asylum © Harald Oppitz (KNA)
Church asylum, a show of force by congregations in favor of humanitarian hardship cases, has less and less chance of success. Just five cases were recognized by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees this year, while nearly 300 were rejected.
The prospects for refugees to be allowed to stay permanently in Germany after being accepted into church asylum have dropped significantly. In just five cases this year, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees has subsequently recognized Germany's responsibility by the end of August, according to a response from the Federal Ministry of the Interior to a question from the left-wing parliamentary group.
In 292 cases, the authorities have refused to recognize Germany's jurisdiction. Church asylum as a corrective is de facto prevented, criticized the interior politician Ulla Jelpke (Linke). The rule of law thus shows weakness, not strength, she commented on the statistics.
Success rate drastically decreased
According to the document, first reported by the "Suddeutsche Zeitung" (Monday) and also available to the Evangelischer Pressedienst , 441 church asylums were reported this year through the end of August. Dossiers were submitted in 304 of these cases. According to an agreement between church and state, this is a prerequisite for the Federal Office to re-examine the cases in which church congregations want to claim humanitarian hardship.
In 2015/2016, the success rate for church asylum was still around 80 percent, the left said. It has now dropped to just two percent, he said. It is noticeable that after the amption of office by authority boss Hans Eckhard summer in the Federal Office with Dublin procedures "a sharper wind blows", explained Jelpke.
Sommer had taken over as head of the federal office last year. This summer, at an event organized by churches and refugee organizations, he said his agency now recognizes hardship cases on its own. With that, he explained the decline in the success rate of church asylum cases.
Church asylum even greater feat
The majority of these cases involve so-called Dublin procedures, in which another EU member state is responsible. In these cases, church congregations want to prevent the persons concerned from being deported to another EU country. According to the Federal Ministry of the Interior, at the end of July there were a total of 30.201 cases in Germany where another member state would be responsible for the procedure. In more than 13.000 cases of which the persons concerned were obliged to leave the country.
If a church congregation wants to prevent deportation even after a rejection by the Federal Office, the refugee must live in the church premises for 18 months until the deadline for deportation to an EU state has expired. The deadline was increased last year from six months at the time. For the congregations, church asylum has thus become an even greater feat of strength. It is not uncommon for volunteers to take care of individuals or families completely.
Ministry of the Interior: Uniform examination
According to the newspaper report, the Interior Ministry stresses that they examine possible humanitarian hardship cases uniformly, no matter who requests it. In a large number of church asylum cases, courts have already confirmed the negative decision of the Federal Office. If congregations base their church asylum solely on arguments that have already been examined by a court, the Federal Office usually insists that the refugees leave the country.
Jelpke, on the other hand, spoke of a "confrontation course" of the Federal Office against the churches, Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU) must end it. "Church communities certainly don't make it easy for themselves and examine church asylum cases very thoroughly," she said.