Figures on deportations from Berlin: It’s easiest at night

Left Party MP Elif Eralp criticizes the high number of deportations to Moldova and at night: the coalition does not keep its own promises.

A stuffed animal in the children’s room of the deportation building at Schönefeld Airport (Feb. 2017) Photo: dpa

BERLIN taz | The red-green-red coalition continues to diligently deport: From January to the end of August there were a total of 570 “repatriations” from Berlin. This emerges from previously unpublished answers from the interior administration to a written request from MPs Katina Schubert and Elif Eralp (both Left Party), which the taz has exclusively received. The Senate even exceeded the figures for the same period last year (516 deportations). In addition, in the period from January 1 to September 13, 93 people were picked up by the police between 9 p.m. and 6 a.m. “on the occasion of deportation measures”. Such “night deportations”, which are considered to be very stressful for children, the elderly and sick people in particular, are “unacceptable”, Eralp told the taz.

In fact, R2G agreed in the coalition agreement that “deportations at night” should “be avoided.” The fact that about every sixth deportation takes place at night is justified by the interior administration regularly, including in this answer, with organizational reasons. “The arrests at night are based on binding specifications of the destination countries for departure and arrival times,” said State Secretary Torsten Akmann in the answer.

However, the Residence Act (§ 58 Paragraph 7) states that the organization of a deportation is no reason to enter a foreigner’s home at night. As early as March, the Berlin Refugee Council pointed out that deportations at night on this basis were illegal.

Most of the people deported up to the end of August 2022 were citizens of Moldova (169), Bosnia and Herzegovina (118), Serbia (44), Poland (26) and Russia (24). Whether they were actually deported to their country of origin is not clear from the answer, because the target countries of deportations are “not statistically recorded”, according to Akmann.

No asylum for Roma from Moldova

Above all, Eralp criticizes the high number of deported Moldovans, most of whom were deported before the start of the Ukraine war in January and February. The small country south of the Ukraine is one of the poorest in Europe. A relatively large number of refugees have been coming from there for several years. This year Moldova is among the “Top 10” countries of origin for asylum seekers.

The refugees from Moldova are often Rom*nja, who are systematically discriminated against, according to aid organizations such as Pro Asyl and the Berlin Refugee Council. Nevertheless, their asylum applications are never recognized in Germany and are usually rejected as “obviously unfounded” without careful individual examination.

Since the Republic of Moldova closed its airspace at the beginning of the Ukraine war, no people were deported there from April to July, but 17 Moldovans were deported to other EU countries under the Dublin III regulation. However, the airspace has been open again since August, the interior administration said when asked by the taz, so that 10 people were deported there this month, as well as 3 people to EU countries. “There is no alternative to resuming enforcement of the legal obligation to leave the country, also in view of the tense housing situation for refugees in Berlin,” says Sabine Beikler, spokeswoman for the internal administration.

Eralp, on the other hand, is particularly critical of deportations of Rom*nja there. “The Federal Government must, also in view of Germany’s historical responsibility, provide a humanitarian solution for the right to stay for this group and I expect the Berlin Senate to present a corresponding Bundesrat initiative in a timely manner, as agreed in the coalition agreement,” she said.