Germany has found itself in the middle of a violent clash between its own citizens and the refugees it took in during 2015.
Overwhelmed by the arrival of more than one million migrants last year, the German government is looking for a way to get rid of some of them.
German officials are now threatening to cut off aid to North African countries that refuse to take their citizens back.
“You can’t receive development aid and not accept your own citizens back when they have no right to asylum,” German Vice Chancellor Sigmar Gabriel told Germany’s ARD television Monday.
“Germany is more than willing to give economic aid to North Africa, but only when the governments there reciprocate by allowing people whose asylum applications have been rejected to travel back into the country,” he said.
This comes after North African migrants gained widespread attention following group sexual assaults reported on New Year’s Eve on the women of Cologne, Germany. The suspects were described as being “of North African appearance.”
According to BBC, this is not the only instance for which North African men are being investigated. Police targeted North African gangs suspected of pickpocketing, mugging and drugs offenses about 30 miles from Cologne, and police also detained 40 North African men in Duesseldorf on Saturday.
Germany has faced challenges expelling Algerian and Moroccan migrants, because their countries have been unwilling to accept them without proper identifying documents, according to German media reports.
Even if North African countries agree to take some of their citizens back, the process for repatriation is lengthy. BBC noted that it takes more than a year for German authorities to decide if to accept or reject an asylum application, by which time the migrant may have settled into the new country and may have gotten a job.
Germany’s vice chancellor Gabriel said the government aimed to “get the numbers down and secure the EU’s external borders.”