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Germany: The applications of 4,500 asylum-seekers are being reviewed following a Migration Office scandal

Following a scandal at the Bremen branch of the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), more than 4,500 asylum cases will be re-examined and stricter policies put in place. A former Director at the branch had granted asylum to at least 1,200 people although they did not meet the conditions, as revealed by a joint media investigation last week.

The stricter protocols were welcomed by the Bundestag’s spokeswoman for migration, Linda Teuteberg, who referred to the changes as “late.” “Only in this way can we really grasp the scale of the problems and restore the citizens’ trust in an orderly constitutional process,” she said.

Yet Ulla Jelpke, a politician from The Left party, has criticized the harsher procedures, saying that they will intimidate applicants who are in desperate need of protection. “It should not be refugees who have to pay the price for the mistakes of a systemically overloaded authority,” she said.

BAMF’s structural problems actually go further than the Bremen affair demonstrates, said Luise Amtsberg, spokeswoman for the Green Party’s refugee policy. “For years, we have asked for consultations on asylum procedures, the use of qualified interpreters, and the training and supervision of those who make the asylum decisions,” she said.

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