After all, such a scenario contradicted the common picture that migrants were invariably the poorest of the poor, or those who had escaped from a hail of bullets, while clinging to dear life.
But then a year ago , after a request from AfD MP Leif-Erik Holm, it was revealed that such reports of incoming migrants were actually not “right-wing hate mongering” stories.
Since 2017, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (Bamf) has interviewed numerous asylum seekers about their itinerary and part of the survey includes questions on how the migrants came to Germany – on foot, by train, by car, bus or plane.
According to the Ministry of the Interior, “less than a third of the respondents questioned” stated that they had “arrived in Germany by plane”.
Significantly, shortly before Holm’s request, the Bamf had denied that such numbers had existed. It was thus all the more surprising when the Federal Ministry of the Interior confirmed to the deputy AfD faction leader in the Bundestag that some 30 percent of all asylum seekers surveyed had arrived by air.
Since then, more than a year has passed, and the Federal Government never tires of underscoring how the asylum crisis has now been brought “under control”. The numbers of migrants have gone down, the loss of control over borders has been resolved and the state of emergency has ended, authorities argue.
For Holm, these bold assurances have been reason enough to demand a record of the current itinerary surveys from the administration. The various routes as well as the European partner countries which continue to allow migrants to make the journey to Germany unhindered, are available through these surveys.
In particular, also because the Bamf now lists the country of last departure and thus the airports from which the migrants fly to Germany.
But unlike a year ago, the Federal Government has now classified the numbers as a secret – only for “official use”. This was allegedly deemed necessary in terms of the “state’s welfare”.
The evaluations of the itinerary survey would have an impact “on the security of the Federal Republic of Germany”, the government said in response to the request of the AfD parliamentary group. This new classification means that Holm is allowed to see the numbers in the parliamentary secretariat of the Bundestag, but he is not allowed to make them public.
The AfD MP has rejected the new secrecy classification. Instead, Holm suspects that the information has been declared classified so that voters remain in the dark about the many asylum seekers that arrive by plane.
These numbers would raise further questions that the Federal Government would rather not answer, Holm told German weekly Junge Freiheit.
“How do asylum seekers without papers or visas actually board the plane? Which states simply wave them through the airports? And is it controlled at certain airports abroad? Apparently, the answers are so explosive that Mr Seehofer must lock them away in the poison cupboard so as not to unsettle the citizens.”
The secrecy is completely unacceptable, said the AfD politician and demanded that Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (CSU), “end his blockade and secrecy policy immediately”.
It is not the first time that the Federal Government evades certain issues, Holm noted. He said that the AfD will be examining legal avenues against such non-responses.