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Family Reunification Laws Could Bring 400,000 More Syrians To Germany

REUTERS/Ina Fassbender

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Jacob Bojesson Foreign Correspondent

Germany estimates that more than 400,000 Syrians soon could be joined by their families.

German immigration laws give each accepted asylum applicant the right to bring his or her immediate family over. With 428,000 Syrians applying for asylum in 2015, the already record-breaking influx could double if they decide to take advantage of the reunification rules.

A leaked internal report from Germany’s migration agency estimates that each refugee on average leaves one family member behind in the war torn country. Interior Ministry spokesman Tobias Plate said Wednesday the estimate appears to be plausible, according to The Associated Press.

A rule change to immigration laws introduced earlier this year might make it harder for migrants to reunite with their families in some cases, according to Plate. Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere recently called for more deportations to relieve some pressure from authorities.

Around 220,000 foreigners in Germany have been ordered to leave after getting their asylum applications denied. The vast majority, 168,000, have so-called “tolerance permits,” which allow them to stay in the country until any obstacles are cleared.

De Maiziere said migrants commit crimes to obtain tolerance permits, as it gives them the right to stay until they get sentenced. (RELATED: German Migrants Have Found An Easy Loophole To Avoid Deportation)

Another obstacle for authorities is the lack of cooperation from the expelled people’s home countries, which frequently refuse to issue the necessary travel permits for a return.

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