News Brief
Migration Crisis

German Court Approves Second-Tier Asylum for Syrian Refugees

A German state court ruled that Syrian refugees are not necessarily entitled to full asylum, and can be granted a lower-level “subsidiary protection,” which bars family reunifications for two years. Initially, Syrian refugees arriving in Germany were granted full asylum on the grounds of their country of origin, a status that allows them to remain in the country and to bring their immediate family. But later the German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government altered the rules as a response to an influx of refugees in 2015.

One of the points of contention in the court case had been whether or not refugees face political persecution, arrest, or torture upon returning to Syria. But the judge said there was no evidence to support claims that the Syrian government suspects those who have fled the country of belonging to the opposition, according to media reports.

Migration is certain to continue to be controversial in Germany ahead of the upcoming federal election election on October, 2017. On November 24, Horst Seehofer, leader of the Christian Social Union (CSU), a Christian democratic and conservative party, called for capping the country’s refugees at 200,000 per year.

On their end, Merkel and the ruling Christian Democrats (CDU) have thus far rejected a quota, though some are calling for the party to take a tougher stance on migration to avoid handing a victory to the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD).