Around 100,000 rejected asylum-seekers are expected to soon be returned from Germany to their home countries, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has announced, adding that around one-third of the deportations are likely to be forced.
Speaking at a Christian Democratic Union (CDU) regional conference in Neumünster on Friday, Merkel said that around 60,000 of those deported will return to their home countries through voluntary repatriation programs, while around one-third will face compulsory deportations, Die Welt newspaper reported.
Those returning home under repatriation programs will reportedly be given a plane ticket and an unspecified amount of start-up aid to be used once they have settled back into their nations of origin.
Speaking particularly of Afghanistan, Merkel noted that “it cannot be that all young people from Afghanistan come to Germany.”
Merkel also urged federal states to do their part to deport rejected asylum-seekers during her Friday speech in Neumünster.
It is not the first time that Merkel – who just days ago announced she would be seeking a fourth term as chancellor – has stressed the need for repatriation for those whose asylum applications have been rejected.
Speaking to conservative members of parliament in September, the German chancellor said “the most important thing in the coming months is repatriation, repatriation, and once more, repatriation,” Reuters reported at the time.
Merkel has come under fire from political opponents and allies alike, after implementing an open-door policy for those fleeing war and persecution. More than a million asylum-seekers reached the country in 2015, in the biggest refugee crisis since World War II.
A total of 21,000 rejected asylum-seekers were repatriated in 2015, and an additional 35,000 were repatriated in the first seven months of 2016, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere told a cabinet meeting in August.