A good half of the adult asylum seekers did not submit any documents in the past year that unequivocally prove their origin, name and date of birth.
“In 2020, the proportion of first-time asylum applicants from the age of 18 without identity papers was 51.8 percent,” according to a response from the Federal Ministry of the Interior to a written question from the FDP domestic politician Linda Teuteberg, which is available to the German Press Agency.
In the previous year, around 49 percent of adult applicants without papers presented to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (Bamf). In 2017 – the first for which statistics on the submission of identity papers were compiled in Bamf – almost 61 percent of all asylum seekers aged 18 and over had no documents with them.
In an earlier answer to a parliamentary question, the federal government had given various possible reasons for the lack of identity papers: for example, problems in the registration system in the country of origin, the loss of documents while fleeing, the collection of papers by smugglers. Some of the applicants also deliberately dispose of their papers – sometimes on the advice of smugglers, “in order to supposedly increase the chances in the asylum procedure”.
The large number of undocumented asylum seekers posed major challenges for the authorities, said Teuteberg. After all, the asylum system is intended “for people who need protection from political persecution”.
According to the federal government, the Bamf checked a total of 190,608 identity documents from asylum seekers for authenticity in 2020. When asked how many applicants with forged documents applied for asylum in the past year, the government said that 4488 documents had been objected to by the Bamf inspection agency. This corresponds to a share of 2.36 percent. However, the Ministry of the Interior pointed out that in some cases several documents from an applicant are being examined. Conclusions about the exact number of those who submit false papers cannot be drawn from this percentage.
The number of applications was significantly lower than in the previous year – also due to the corona pandemic. In 2019, the Bamf received 142,509 asylum applications.
Unclear identities made it much more difficult to make an appropriate decision in the asylum procedure, regardless of why someone could not produce any papers, said Teuteberg. To make progress here, a better European data comparison would be necessary – also for security reasons.
13 of the 72 Syrian Islamists whose cases were discussed by the federal and state governments in the so-called AG Status of the Joint Counter-Terrorism Center in 2020 also have no identification documents. However, according to the Federal Ministry of the Interior, there is still no doubt as to their identity.
The task of the working group for “status law accompanying measures” is to promote the termination of residence for foreigners with an “Islamist-terrorist background”.
© dpa-infocom, dpa: 210223-99-552615 / 5 (dpa)