Germany: “No Change to Open-Door Migration Policy”

by Soeren Kern
July 29, 2016

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has rejected criticism of her decision to allow more than a million mostly Muslim migrants to enter Germany last year.

Speaking at an annual summer press conference in Berlin on July 28, a defiant Merkel ignored critics of her refugee policies and insisted there would be no change to her open-door migration stance. She also said she bears no responsibility for a recent spate of violent attacks in Germany.

Germany has been rattled by an axe attack on a train in Würzburg, a mass shooting in Munich, a machete attack in Reutlingen and a suicide bomb in Ansbach — all within a week.

The attacks, which left 13 dead, were all carried out by Muslims: Three of the attacks were carried out by asylum seekers and one by a German-Iranian who harbored a hatred of Arabs and Turks.

Merkel, who interrupted her summer holiday to attend the 90-minute press conference, which was pushed forward by a month, reiterated her credo: “We can do it!” (“Wir schaffen das!”). She has repeated the phrase over and over since Germany’s migration crisis exploded on September 4, 2015, when she opened up the German border to tens of thousands of migrants stranded in Hungary. She said:

“We decided to fulfill our humanitarian obligations. I did not say it would be easy. I said back then, and I will say it again now, that we can manage our historic task — and this is a historic test in times of globalization — just as we have managed so much already, we can do it. Germany is a strong country.”

Merkel said the goal of jihadists was to “divide our unity and undermine our way of life. They want to prevent our openness to welcoming people. They want to sow hate and fear between cultures and also among religions.”

The chancellor said she knows that Germans are worried about their personal safety: “We are doing everything humanly possible to ensure security in Germany,” she noted, but added, “Anxiety and fear cannot guide our political decisions.”

Merkel also outlined a nine-point plan to increase security in Germany: 1) an early-warning system to identify radicalization among migrants; 2) an increase in staff at Germany’s intelligence agencies; 3) an information technology office to focus on tracking internet communications between jihadists; 4) regular joint exercises with the police and the military to practice counter-terrorism measures; 5) expanding research on Islamic terrorism and radicalization; 6) improving European cooperation on intelligence sharing; 7) restricting the sale of weapons online; 8) a national registry to monitor people entering and leaving the country; and 9) making it easier to deport asylum seekers who break the law.

Merkel concluded by refusing to budge an inch: “For me it is clear: we stick to our principles. We will give those who are politically persecuted refuge and protection under the Geneva Convention.” She added: “I cannot promise you that we will never have to take in another mass wave of refugees.”

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