Because the Balkan route could largely be closed after the intervention by the then Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz in 2017, the influx of immigrants has been accumulating on the Croatian EU external border.
Some 90 percent of all migrants now find themselves huddled in the 61 000-inhabitant city in Bosnia-Herzegovina, according to mayor Šuhret Fazlić. According to official figures, it is 10 000. But that number can not be taken seriously anymore. The almost exclusively male immigrant groups in the city center and in the surrounding areas are scattered all over.
Although 1 500 of them have already been taken to a makeshift warehouse on a former landfill site in Vuçjak, five kilometers away, the cityscape is still marked by immigrants: on the park benches, in abandoned houses, in the pedestrian area of the city center, on the Bank of the Una, the river flowing through Bihać.
“They are everywhere,” complained a 20-year-old Bosnian to Berlin weekly Junge Freiheit. The past year has been an “extreme” one for the city when thousands of migrants camped in and around Bihac. And their number has increased significantly this summer. So much so that a reception center set up by the city had to close because it lacked the capacity to deal with the deluge.
“In the meantime, I no longer feel safe here,” says the woman. Her three friends standing next to her agreed with her. Every day, young women are subjected to insults and sexual harassment by immigrants, mostly from Syria, Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Pakistan and Bangladesh. “It ends in rape, but out of shame hardly anyone talks about it.”
In Germany meanwhile, images of migrants arriving in the country have caused a stir on social media. Large numbers of African refugees, who had been brought by air to Germany, were filmed on their arrival at the airport in Kassel.
There were 154 Somalis who were previously housed in refugee camps in Ethiopia. Germany agreed last December to agree to the resettlement of selected refugees with the EU resettlement program. The 154 Somalis are only a small part of the arrivals.
In a response from the Federal Government to a request by AFD MP Steffen Kotré, it was confirmed that Germany had agreed to resettle up to 10 200 such migrants in 2018 and 2019, including 6 000 from refugee camps in Turkey.
Last year, according to the German government, there were 2 844 resettlements admitted to Germany, and by the end of October this year 3 617. More will follow.
The refugees brought to Germany for resettlement this year alone cost more than 4,5 million euros. “For the further entries until the end of the year, additional costs of about 1 700 000 euros were calculated, so that the total amount of the resettlement programme for the year 2019 can be put at 6 300 000 euros,” it stated in the reply to Kotré. However, Germany receives up to €10 000 from the EU’s Asylum and Migration Fund for every entry.
The AfD member nevertheless harshly criticized the participation of the Federal Government in the relocation programme. “The mass relocation of people without education or language skills by plane, can not be tolerated,” said Kotré. So far, reports on migrants flown in by the government have always been dismissed as a conspiracy theory, added the AfD politician. “Now we know that the rumors are true.”
Moreover, nearly 30 000 deported asylum seekers are back in Germany, German daily Die Welt reported. By 30 September, 28 224 asylum seekers who had arrived since 2012 and were later deported or voluntarily left the country, had returned, according to the Federal Government’s response to a request by AfD MP Martin Sichert.
In the meantime, all these people have filed a new application for asylum. “Reliable information” on the reason for their departure could not be determined, according to the federal government. Therefore, it remains unclear whether the returnees were deported after their initial application had been refused or if they had left with or without financial support.
These are all applicants who, during or after their asylum procedure, broke off contact with the authorities, for example, to either live in Germany illegally or to travel to another country.
According to the Federal Ministry of the Interior, around half of all deportations failed between 2015 and the end of 2018.