Those with SPD party membership were in favour of an extension of the ban, but there was resistance from the ministers from the mainstream parties. Lower Saxony’s Interior Minister Boris Pistorius (SPD) criticized the fact that nobody should be deported to a country in which he was threatened with persecution, torture or even death. Bundestag deputy Claudia Roth (Greens) warned that Syria was a “torture state, a dictatorship and a country still a war”. Not to extend the deportation freeze was “a scandal and irresponsible” she said.
Bavaria’s Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann and Federal Interior Minister Horst Seehofer (both CSU) emphasized that it was only about a small group of Syrians, which included radical Islamists or who had committed serious crimes. The domestic political spokeswoman for the left-wing parliamentary group in the Bundestag, Ulla Jelpke, countered that human rights were “indivisible” and would also apply to criminals too.
Less than six months later, the heated discussion has turned out to be a phantom debate with a lot of theatrical thunder. Since January 1 of this year, potential Islamist terrorists, threats and serious criminals can be deported from Germany to their homeland – in theory.
In practice, however, it has been shown that the option is not applied. At the beginning of June, AfD member of the Bundestag Stephan Brandner asked the federal government how many criminals and threats with Syrian citizenship had been deported from Germany to Syria between January and May.
The answer of the State Secretary in the Ministry of the Interior, Stephan Mayer (CSU), was succinct. “As far as the Federal Government is aware, no returns to the Syrian Arab Republic have taken place during the period in question.”
An earlier request from Brandner to the federal government last October showed that there were definitely candidates for deportation. At that time it emerged that foreigners who committed acts of violence in Germany were most often of Syrian origin. In 2019, around 37,5 percent of all suspected violent criminals were foreigners. And among these, in turn, Syrians were most strongly represented with 12,2 percent. However, the expiry of the deportation ban on December 31, 2020 had no consequences for them.