Horst Seehofer, who triggered heated debates over German refugee policy with his “Migration Masterplan”, to tighten migration rules, has revealed plans for another crusade in 2019 to prevent asylum seekers whose applications have been rejected from illegally staying in Germany.

Germany’s Interior Minister Horst Seehofer, representing Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats’ Bavarian sister party Christian Social Union, has told the German newspaper Bild that he will put forth a proposal to the coalition government to further tighten the legal basis for deportation and repatriation of refugees at the beginning of next year. According to him, the German government should “urgently” address the issue, especially concerning migrants with a criminal record.

“If someone is to be deported, we should take him into custody, so that he does not disappear by the time of deportation”, the politician, known for his hardline stance on migration policy, said.

With the newly proposed rules, the minister wants to prevent asylum seekers, whose applications have been rejected, from escaping deportation, trying to conceal their true identity and lying about their documents being lost.

The package of measures, Seehofer advertised, also includes “the reduction of social benefits”.

At the same time, the official also emphasised that one must follow the principle, encrypted in the German Basic Law, that those entitled to asylum may receive protection in Germany.

“People who are not entitled to asylum have to leave the country quickly. The rule of law must be assertive”, he stated.

He also stressed that Germany needs to improve the information exchange among federal states on crimes committed by asylum seekers, in order to control migrants with “criminal careers” and take preventive action. According to him, the recent months have shown that rejected asylum seekers who committed new and more serious felonies were often previously known to police.

He also refuted rumours that he might resign as interior minister, which have been circulating since the row over his “Migration Masterplan” this July and gained momentum after he stepped down as the CSU leader in November.

Seehofer’s Masterplan for a stricter refugee policy was strongly opposed by Angela Merkel, her Christian Democratic Union and social democrat SPD coalition partners. The proposal to turn away refugees registered in other EU countries brought the long-time CDU/CSU alliance to the verge of collapse. The scenario was averted as the coalition partners, Merkel’s CDU and the SPD, managed to reach a common ground on migration issues by agreeing to turn down certain asylum-seekers on the basis of bilateral agreements with other EU countries.

Since the “open borders policy” was announced Germany has accepted more than 1 million migrants from the Middle East and Northern Africa, Merkel’s government has been criticised for failing to effectively handle the migrant influx.

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