Frauke Petry, leader of right-wing party Alternative for Germany (AfD), suggested that refugees who try to cross the nation's border illegally be shot.
“[A border patrol officer] must stop illegal border crossings and also make use of his firearm if necessary,” Petry, 40, said during a Jan. 30 interview with Mannheimer Morgen, according to the Daily Mail.
“No policeman wants to fire on a refugee, and I don't want that either,” she added. "But the last resort includes the use of armed force."
Petry also called for agreements with Austria and "border security systems," among other things, to curtail the influx of migrants, according to the Independent.
Petry’s stance on refugees has been slammed by both politicians and the police force itself.
“Whoever proposes such a radical approach apparently wants to overturn the rule of law and exploit the police,” Joerg Radek, vice-chairman of the GdP police union, said in a statement, according to the Daily Mail.
Over 1 million refugees entered Germany in 2015, and residents are doubting the government’s ability to handle the flood of migrants.
Petry’s party has seen a surge in support as public opinion about Germany’s immigration rules have transformed.
Bernd Lucke, Petry's rival, says the mother-of-four has turned the AfD into “a Pegida party” -- the anti-Muslim German party, Patriotic Europeans Against the Islamisation of the Occident.
As a member of the right-wing group, Petry has reportedly pushed an anti-immigrant agenda and has voiced her disapproval of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s immigration policies.
Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel suggested the AfD be put under surveillance by the government agency that tracks extremists.
“There is massive doubt that [members of the party] stand by the free democratic order of the republic,” Gabriel told Bild newspaper, according to the Daily Mail.
A poll released at the end of January found that over 11 percent of Germans would vote for AfD, while support for Merkel’s administration decreased to 37 percent.
However, Merkel has garnered support from an unlikely figure. Baden-Wuerttemberg Gov. Winfried Kretschmann, a member of the Green party, which is in opposition at the federal level, said Merkel’s answer to the migrant crisis was the right one.
“Which of her counterparts in the EU will hold Europe together if she fails? Far and wide, there's nobody in sight,” Kretschmann told Berlin's Tagesspiegel newspaper. “Therefore, I pray every day that the chancellor remains healthy.”