Germany’s pro-migrant churches block deportations with ‘church asylum’ scheme

By Dénes Albert
3 Min Read

Churches in Germany’s largest state, North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), are increasingly turning into asylum centers by offering “church asylum” to hundreds of migrants.

With 1.2 million migrants entering Germany this year, and nearly 200,000 asylum requests made from migrants from non-European countries such as Iraq, Syria, and Pakistan, Germany is once again facing a migrant crisis. Now, churches are seeing a rise in requests by migrants seeking asylum, said the chairman of the ecumenical church asylum network in NRW, Joachim Poggenklaß, according to Christian news network Domradio.

Churches have increasingly become pro-migrant across Germany in recent decades, with Protestant churches openly funding NGO rescue boats, which have often been accused of being a “ferry” service for human smugglers. These churches have also begun offering “church asylum,” which is not actually covered by law, but which authorities appear to respect.

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Now, the number of requests for church asylum are so high that there are not enough spots for everyone who makes a request. Nevertheless, church asylum can be highly effective. In the past 12 months, 200 of the 203 people offered church asylum were allowed to stay in Germany because authorities refused to deport them.

Currently, there are 166 people being offered church asylum, and authorities have also refused to deport this group. There are currently 220 open “church asylum” requests from asylum seekers seeking to avoid deportation.

These cases mostly have to do with people who would be deported back to other EU countries due to the Dublin rules, which stipulate that migrants must return to the first EU country they register in. In practice, this often means Greece, Spain, or Italy. In many cases, migrants are safe from war in such countries but still journey onward to Germany in order to secure better social and economic benefits.

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Germany’s Church leaders have advocated for more immigration and a faster citizenship process. As Remix News previously reported, these top officials in Christian churches support “church asylum” and more “humanitarian” support for migrants:

Although the issue of migration is framed almost entirely as a humanitarian cause, Church officials are loathe to acknowledge that many Europeans have suffered due to the crisis, including through terrorist attackssexual assaults, and individual tragedies that have left deep scars on the continent. Despite these realities, Bishop Franz-Josef Bode claimed that the Church, via its pro-migration stance, stands on the side of the “oppressed.” He argued that churches across Germany must revive the “welcoming culture” that previously existed several years ago. 

Recent polling shows that a majority of Germans have “big worries” about rising immigration numbers, suggesting there is growing unease as the country’s population soars to 84 million for the first time.

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