The refugee who blew himself up outside a music festival in Ansbach, Germany after declaring his loyalty to ISIS on a cell phone video was supposed to have been deported twice. The New York Times reports:
The bomber stayed in Bulgaria from late 2013 until the middle of 2014, Georgi Kostov, an official at the Bulgarian Interior Ministry, told journalists in Sofia.
In December 2013, he was granted a status that allowed him to travel freely within the European Union, if he had the necessary documents.
The man entered Germany in June 2014, officials in Berlin said, but in September of that year, German authorities asked Bulgaria to take him back because he did not qualify for asylum. Bulgaria resisted, citing a European Union asylum protocol known as the Dublin regulation. Germany could have sent him back to Bulgaria under a separate agreement between the two countries, according to Petya Parvanova, who runs the refugee agency in Bulgaria. However, Germany never followed up, she said.
German officials offered a different account. Carda Seidel, the mayor of Ansbach, said the bomber had received two deportation orders, most recently on July 13, and Tobias Plate, an Interior Ministry spokesman, said the bomber had been notified of his impending deportation to Bulgaria. But he added, “I can’t at this point tell you why the deportation has not been carried out.”
As a result, Open Europe reports: that
Following the attack, a number of politicians have called for Germany’s policies on removing failed asylum seekers to be revamped, with Bavarian Premier and CSU leader Horst Seehofer telling Münchner Merkur, “Until now, there was a consensus that you don’t deport rejected asylum seekers to a war zone. But we have to seriously consider how these people are treated in future, especially when they pose a threat or come up against the law.” The CDU’s Home Affairs spokesman Armin Schuster told Stuttgarter Zeitung that Germany needs to develop a “farewell culture” to match its “welcome culture” and more needs to be done to enforce the removal of over 200,000 failed asylum claimants.
The position of the refugees/migrants in German society is more precarious than many liberal admirers of the “welcome culture” often realize. This is the age of the hybrid refugee-migrant: people like the Ansbach attacker are refugees insofar as they’re fleeing war zones in places like Syria, but migrants insofar as they’re then traveling from safe countries like Bulgaria (or Turkey or Greece) to other safe countries in search of better economic opportunities. They have been allowed to stay only because Angela Merkel essentially abrogated the Dublin Agreement and allowed them to—which in turn has been upheld only because public opinion at first embraced it, and then hasn’t changed so much against it as to oust the chancellor or force her hand.
But that may now be shifting. If more attacks do come, it will likely shift even more. And when or if the Germans want to change their approach to the refugees, there will be at least arguable legal grounds on which to do it.
The result: as attacks go up, there are likely to be, as the Open Europe report suggests, more deportations—perhaps many more. And there will be less hand-wringing stories about it—or perhaps more, but fewer will care.
Which in some ways is a shame: those stories work because the idea of people who just wanted a better life for themselves being deported is heart-wrenching. But there was always a limit to the number of refugee/migrants Germany could accept, particularly from a region with an acute Islamic terrorist problem. That’s something that the do-gooders should have thought about beforehand.