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"Asylum emergency brake" in Germany: Several federal states are overloaded with refugees

The distribution of refugees within Germany is regulated by law. According to this, every federal state has to accept a certain quota of asylum seekers. However, according to research by FOCUS Online, there are currently exception rules for several states. They have been blocked from assignments because they are aleady overloaded with asylum seekers.

The sustained influx of migrants who come to Germany across the Polish border leads to a partial overload of asylum seekers' accommodation in the federal states. In order to keep the situation under control, some federal states have now drawn a kind of "emergency brake" and implemented an exception rule in the nationwide distribution system for refugees.

Specifically, this means that these countries are currently not allowed to receive asylum seekers from other federal states, even if they are legally obliged to do so. The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (Bamf) has now confirmed the news reported by FOCUS Online. Accordingly, ten federal states have currently been blocked from the allocation of migrants from other federal states.

Emergency brake: exception rules for the distribution of refugees
Normally, all asylum seekers arriving in Germany are distributed to the 16 federal states - via the EASY quota system (“initial distribution of asylum seekers”) based at Bamf. The so-called "Königsteiner key" is decisive. According to this, Saxony, for example, has to accept 4.98 percent of asylum seekers, Bavaria 15.56 percent and Hesse 7.43 percent. The system is intended to ensure fair distribution across the federal states.

At the request of FOCUS Online, a Bamf spokesman confirmed that the federal states “have no choice in terms of participation in the distribution mechanism or the extent to which the quotas according to the Königsteiner key are met”. However, individual countries could "be temporarily blocked for distribution decisions from other countries," said the spokesman.

Bamf: "Short-term overload" of accommodations
This mechanism is used to be able to react to "special situations" in individual reception facilities. This included, for example, quarantine cases due to Corona or a "short-term overload". The federal states concerned would then only have to accept those foreigners who contact them directly and apply for asylum.

According to information from FOCUS Online, the rule intended for “special situations” is currently used by ten federal states, i.e. almost two thirds of all federal states. The Bamf confirmed the number, but did not want to mention the names of the federal states.

The authority only made an exception for Brandenburg. Due to the influx of migrants across the Polish-German border, the country is "currently excluded from the allocation of asylum seekers from other federal states," said the Bamf spokesman. "In return, refugees from Brandenburg are distributed to other federal states."

He added: "Among the federal states that are currently excluded from distribution, there are also states that should permanently not receive access from other federal states, since experience has shown that more asylum seekers arrive there than the corresponding state would have to accept according to the Königsteiner key."

"Locks" in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Saxony
FOCUS online research revealed that Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, among others, pulled the "emergency brake" in order not to have to take in asylum seekers from other federal states, at least temporarily.

"In order to remain receptive in principle, the federal state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania had the initial reception facility blocked in the EASY system for the last two weekends for a period of 3 to 4 days, so that at least referrals from other federal states could be avoided for this period ", Says Marion Schlender, spokeswoman for the Ministry of the Interior in Schwerin:" This measure served the aim of being able to accommodate the incoming direct accesses - in particular also those forwarded by the Federal Police from the German-Polish border."

Clear goal: "Relief of the Free State of Saxony"
And the authorities in Saxony have also reacted. "The possible blocks, which at least lead to a reduction in forwarding from other federal states to Saxony, were set," said Jana Klein from the state police department of Saxony.

"However, these barriers do not change the fact that the people apprehended in the Saxon area of ​​the border with Poland are forwarded by the federal police to a Saxon reception facility, where they must first be accommodated and registered and the health check carried out," says Klein. Only then is it "possible to forward and thus relieve the Free State of Saxony".

Source: FOCUS Online
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