Around 270,000 Syrians Have Right to Bring Families to Germany: Report

Michelle Martin, Reuters, April 5, 2017

Syrians in Berlin

Syrians in Berlin (Credit Image: © Janos Chiala/NurPhoto via ZUMA Press)

Around 270,000 Syrians in Germany have the right to bring in their family members, a newspaper said on Wednesday – a statistic that could fuel the debate about migration less than six months before a national election.

Mass-selling tabloid Bild cited a government paper as showing a total of 431,376 Syrians applied for asylum in Germany in 2015 and 2016 and said that of those 267,500 would be entitled to family reunifications in Germany.

That could play into the hands of the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, which has lost support in recent months as the refugee issue recedes from the headlines ahead of a Sept. 24 election.

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Neither the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) nor the Interior Ministry immediately responded to requests for comment on the report.

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The AfD, which has made immigration one of its key rallying points, is currently on between 7 and 11 percent in opinion polls, above the 5 percent threshold to enter parliament.

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In 2016, some 280,000 migrants arrived in Germany, a sharp drop compared with 890,000 the previous year. Bild said while there were no numbers for 2017 yet, the federal police had already caught more than 20,000 illegal migrants on the borders in the first three months of this year.

Separately, the German cabinet on Wednesday approved a draft law that would prevent child marriages conducted abroad from being recognized in Germany. It says marriages should automatically be void if at least one of the partners was younger than 16 at the time they wed.

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