Germany learns how to send back migrants — pay them
A contentious deal struck Friday between the European Union and Turkey aims to finally halt the historic wave of irregular migration to Europe from the Middle East and beyond. But Germany, ground zero of the refugee crisis, faces a separate problem — what to do about all those who are already here.
The rapid rate of arrivals in the once-welcoming nation has forced a backlog of 770,000 asylum requests. About half of them, authorities say, will be rejected. That means figuring out how to get the asylum seekers who cannot stay to leave. With deportations on such a scale seen as problematic at best, the country has come up with a solution: Pay — some say bribe — them.
By the time his offer came, Lauand Sadek was already regretting his arduous trek from Iraq to Germany.
A month had passed since he arrived in the promised land of migrants, yet the 21-year-old was still stuck in a crowded refugee camp. Unable to speak German, he hardly went out. Then this overwhelmed nation made him an interesting proposition: Go back home, and we’ll help build you a better life there.
“I was alone and confused,” Sadek said via Skype from Iraq, where he voluntarily returned in December. He made the choice after the German government offered him a plane ticket and up to 6,000 euros (roughly $6,540) to invest in a small business — a little grocery store in Irbil.