Germany is responding to the tide of migrants seeking asylum within its borders by increasing deportations to Austria.
Austrian officials say that hundreds of migrants are being sent daily from Germany back to neighboring Austria, reports the BBC.
The number of migrants sent from Germany to Austria has grown from 60 per day in December 2015 to roughly 200 so far in 2016. Most migrants who are deported are from Afghanistan, while most Syrian refugees are granted asylum in Germany.
Migrants deported to Austria commonly refuse asylum in Germany to seek asylum elsewhere in Europe, according to the Independent.
“Even if the conditions for asylum are met, we will send back those refugees who do not wish to apply for asylum in Germany,” a spokesperson for the German government said about his country’s recent deportations, according to The Telegraph.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision in 2015 to adopt an “open door” policy for refugees was lauded by many. Merkel sidestepped E.U. migrant policy when she allowed Syrian refugees into Germany, regardless of which state they first entered.
The Merkel administration’s deportations may mark a return to a tougher stance on migrants, curbing the influx.
The Austrian government is pushing Germany to send back more migrants and enforce the E.U.’s "Dublin rules" that permit migrants to be deported to the first E.U. state they arrive in, reports the Independent.
Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann advocated “intensify[ing] policies together with Germany to send back economic migrants and decrease overall numbers.”
Merkel’s government has come under increased pressure after the New Year’s Eve attacks on women in Cologne that allegedly involved migrants. Ten of the 19 suspects in the Cologne attacks are migrants seeking asylum, according to the BBC.
In response to public concern about the influx of immigrants, Merkel has promised to “drastically decrease” the flow of migrants to Germany, reports the Independent. After 1.1 million migrants arrived in Germany in 2015, many Germans are concerned about strains on infrastructure and security risks.