The state stands disgraced and trust is vanishing — and not just when it comes to deportations, but when it comes to everything that a state actually stands for: internal security.
It is a painful diagnosis, and it goes far beyond the chaotic and horrific scenes in front of Cologne’s main station on New Year’s Eve. The state is suffering from a stress fracture: In key areas it has long been overwhelmed. It is an uncomfortable realization for the German people. The same state that records their lives right down to the smallest taxable detail and last year alone wrote or amended on the federal level around 8,000 paragraphs of law is now failing at its most basic tasks: protecting its citizens; law enforcement; security; public order.
In many places, refugees simply disappear soon after arrival, without anyone knowing where they’ve gone. The operators of some asylum-seeker camps, like one in the state of Hesse outside of Frankfurt, report a disappearance rate among refugees as high as 50 percent within the first two days after arrival.
Opportunities for Fraud
Those determined to do so, can thus secure duplicate social benefits, such as the €143 a month in pocket money, from the government without getting caught simply by registering in different states using either the same or different names. During each registration, the authorities issue a “Certificate of Registration as an Asylum-Seeker.” The simple paper is intended to serve as a kind of emergency identity card for the refugees, a temporary solution until they are able to get an appointment with BAMF to submit their official asylum application. Right now, it often takes months for that to happen.
Given the chaotic procedures that are currently in place, criminals can simply secure official papers for multiple identities. The suspected Islamist from an asylum-seekers’ hostel in Recklinghausen, Germany, who attacked police in Paris with an axe at the beginning of January on the first anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo attack is believed to have registered with the authorities using at least seven different names.
Michael Brennecke has been a public defender in the town of Achim in Lower Saxony for almost 30 years. Based on his experience with numerous cases, he believes that educational measures applied by juvenile courts against young immigrant pickpockets seldom have much impact. He says people who come from countries where conviction for theft means getting your hand cut off “have a totally different understanding of our legal system — they don’t take our sentences seriously.”