Germany needs to change its laws so that asylum seekers guilty of benefit fraud are removed from the asylum process, an ally of German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday, striking a tough tone six months before a federal election.
More than a million migrants have arrived in Germany over the last two years and unease with the mainly Muslim newcomers has pushed up support for the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD). It is expected to enter parliament as the third-biggest party after the Sept. 24 election.
The influx has cost Merkel support, with some voters abandoning the conservatives for the AfD, and her conservative bloc has toughened its stance on migrants in recent months.
“Those who abuse our willingness to help and trample all over our hospitality have no prospects in our country in the long term,” said Stephan Harbarth, deputy leader of the conservative bloc in parliament.
Reports have circulated of some asylum seekers obtaining multiple benefits using different identities. The AfD has accused asylum seekers of committing such fraud.
“People don’t understand why an asylum seeker who abuses his rights as a guest by committing social fraud can stay here permanently and continue to receive social benefits,” Harbarth told Reuters.
On Thursday, the Bundestag lower house of parliament debated a law that aims to make it easier to put migrants obliged to leave the country in detention pending deportation if they pose a “significant danger for life and limb of third parties”. It would also make it easier to put electronic tags on such people.