Over 130,000 refugees registered in Germany are reportedly missing, according to new figures from the German Interior Ministry.
Roughly 13 percent of the 1.1. million refugees who registered in Germany in 2015 were not present at their assigned housing, reports The Local. This new information shows just how difficult it is to pin down the exact number of refugees in Germany and where they are living.
The Interior Ministry said the missing migrants may have migrated to other European countries, gone to live with family members in Germany, or “submerged into illegality."
Germany dramatically increased the amount of refugees it accepted in 2015. Whereas in 2014, they sent 1-in-5 asylum seekers back to the country where they had entered the European Union, in 2015, they only sent back 1-in-10.
Much of the confusion over refugees' whereabouts in Germany may be due to the Dublin Accord, which established immigration protocol in the E.U.
The Dublin Accord, also known as the Dublin Regulation, is an E.U. protocol for determining which European state is responsible for handling requests for asylum, reports The New York Times. According to the regulation, the E.U. country where a migrant first requests asylum is usually the state responsible for handling the request. This country must then register the migrant's asylum application and take their fingerprints.
“The Dublin system is not only a bureaucratic nightmare, it’s a human one too -- it creates uncertainty for refugees in need of protection and it demands an enormous amount of manpower at the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees and the courts,” Ulla Jelpke of Die Linke told The Local.
In August 2015, Germany suspended the Dublin agreement regarding Syrians who arrived in Germany, and agreed to handle all asylum requests itself, The Times notes.
While Germany made 45,000 requests for other countries in the E.U. to take back asylum applicants, only 3,600 of these requests were filled, according to The Local.