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Austria: Deportation of schoolgirls causes a dispute between the ÖVP and the Greens


VIENNA. The deportation of three families with underage children sparked a dispute in Austria's governing coalition of the ÖVP and the Greens. "There is no mandatory legal obligation to deport school children who grew up here in Austria and are well integrated - especially in times of the pandemic," said Vice Chancellor Werner Kogler (Greens) on Thursday. "But we all have a political obligation to be human."

Interior Minister Karl Nehammer (ÖVP), however, defended the measure. He was “personally affected” by the fate of the children, said Nehammer in the Ö1 “Lunch Journal”. But the security authorities have the task of implementing court decisions. “Even for the police officers deployed, this is not an easy task, but it is still necessary to help the rule of law achieve a breakthrough here. It is a supreme court decision that has been examined several times and the police then have to carry it out. "

Asylum procedures took several years
On Thursday night, three families were deported to Georgia and Armenia. These included three young people who went to school in Vienna and Lower Austria. Around 160 people demonstrated in Vienna in front of the deportation facility for families and minors, where the victims were. The police had to evacuate the demonstrators who had blocked the street with shopping carts, garbage cans and other objects.

The case of a twelve-year-old who has now been deported to Georgia caused particularly heated discussions. According to the ORF, her family had submitted their first asylum application in 2015. This, as well as all others, were rejected. The Federal Administrative Court had ruled, among other things, that the family's long stay came about because the immigrants persistently opposed the official requirements.

Constitutional lawyer Peter Bussjäger told the broadcaster that it was a “really special case” that was “very tragic” due to the twelve-year-old's long stay. "But on the other hand, the legal situation is already clear." Politicians must work to speed up such procedures.

FPÖ speaks of authority failure
While the Social Democrats and Liberals condemned the repatriations, the FPÖ criticized the authorities for what they considered to be too long asylum procedures. "It is characteristic of the disastrous state of the ÖVP interior ministry that people whose asylum case seems hopeless can dance around the authorities for ten years," said Vienna's FPÖ boss Dominik Nepp. He called for legal amendments to shorten the procedure for unsuccessful asylum applications.

FPÖ boss Norbert Hofer also emphasized: "As difficult as such measures are, but in a constitutional state it must be clear: If there is no right to stay in Austria, then these measures must also be taken."

In the afternoon, Federal President Alexader Van der Bellen also spoke up. "I cannot and will not believe that we live in a country where this is really necessary in this form," said Van der Bellen in a video published on Facebook. He was deeply affected. “We have to find a way of human, respectful interaction with one another. Especially when children are the main victims. ”In this case, he has no formal responsibility,“ but he does have a clear stance ”.

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