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Migrants use fake licenses for fake ID documents

More and more immigrants in the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) use fake driving licenses to disguise their identity.

Published: May 3, 2018, 10:45 am

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    According to a report in the regional press, the Neue Westfälische, the police recorded 24 per cent more cases as in the previous year, with asylum seekers and other immigrants using fake driver’s licenses.

    The driving license authority of the city Bielefeld maintains that the use of such falsified driving permits has become an increasing problem. Many immigrants exploit the fact that driving licenses in Germany are often accepted as a document, according to statements by the head of the administration Rolf-Dieter Zawada.

    They therefore used their fake driving licenses to fake a nationality or to commit crimes such as car theft.

    According to the authorities, the problem lies in the fact that driving license counterfeiting can only be detected with appropriate test equipment. However, the driving license authorities often did not have the required devices.

    Police operations are further complicated by the fact that asylum seekers are entitled to a German driving license as a result of current asylum procedures. In this way, immigrants receive a German official certificate confirming their fake driving licenses, which in turn confirms their fake biographies.

    The chairman of city operations in North Rhine-Westphalia and Mayor of Bielefeld, Pit Clausen (SPD), therefore demanded: “I think it is important that the cities are equipped as soon as possible by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia with the required devices to weed out fake identity documents.”

    As of May 18, 2017, authorities can forcefully remove rejected asylum seekers more easily, especially if they have made false statements in their asylum application.

    To stop asylum seekers from using fake IDs, Germany is introducing a new identity management system including finger prints. Authorities are trying to improve capacity to detect fake documents. Also, the documents issued by German authorities for asylum seekers have been designed to make it more difficult to falsify.

    Because of rising criminality, the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF) now takes additional measures to check on the identity of asylum seekers who do not present a valid ID, including the right to investigate an asylum seekers’ mobile phone and other electronic devices. In addition, BAMF can pass on personal data of asylum seekers to the police.

    In May 2017, a court ruled that a rejected asylum seeker who failed to show proof of identity will only get the very basic social benefits and no cash money.

    The largest number of asylum seekers to Germany came from Syria. The second largest number of migrants came from Iraq followed by Afghanistan and Eritrea.

    A study conducted by a group of criminologists and forensic experts, conducted at a request of the German Ministry of Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth, showed that the number of violent crimes in one region rose by 10.4 percent between 2014 and 2016. It states further that 92.1 percent of all such cases investigated by police involves refugees and migrants.

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