Chris Tomlinson, AFP, November 25, 2017
49 per cent of the migrants who have claimed to be underage in the city of Hamburg this year are actually adults, according to a new report from the Social Security Board.
The number is up from figures from last year which showed that 47 per cent of those claiming to be underage were adults. The new 49 per cent figure covers the 482 unaccompanied asylum seekers who came to Hamburg from January to September of this year, Die Welt reports.
Across Germany this year there have been a total of 55,890 asylum seekers claiming to be under the age of 18 but according to the Federal Ministry of Family Affairs, 24,116, or 43 percent, were officially adults.
The assessments of adulthood are made by the Child and Youth Emergency Service (KJND), who examine asylum seekers without passports or other identification and send suspected cases to Eppendorf University Hospital to be examined. The hospital then conducts a number of tests including x-rays and tomography to determine the approximate age of the asylum seeker.
Underage migrants are taken into care by the youth welfare service, and if they are determined to be adults they are made to register with the regular asylum authorities.
Many asylum seekers have claimed to be underage because it is much harder for the German government to deport underage asylum seekers and many get preferential treatment.
According to Afghan asylum seeker Hussein K., the suspected murderer of German student Maria Ladenburger, he lied about his age to receive better benefits saying, “if you’re a minor, the situation in Germany is better.”
Germany is not the only country facing a large number of asylum seekers lying about their age. In Austria last year, authorities found almost 1,000 asylum seekers had lied about being under eighteen. An Austrian policeman commented on the issue at the time, saying: “It is absurd for us to see grown men with beards and greying hair that claim to be 17 years of age.”