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From the New York Times:
Don’t let them in?
Failing that, arrest them and keep them locked up until they can be deported?
Ordered Deported, Berlin Suspect Slipped Through Germany’s Fingers
By ALISON SMALE, CARLOTTA GALL and GAIA PIANIGIANI DEC. 22, 2016
BERLIN — He left Tunisia, his family said, with dreams of making money and buying a car. After arriving in Italy, he was a violent inmate who spent time in six jails. In Germany, he was one of some 550 people identified as dangers to the state and placed under special surveillance.
Yet Anis Amri, who turned 24 on Thursday, was able to ignore deportation orders and brushes with the law, roaming freely until he apparently hijacked a truck and rammed it into a Christmas market in Berlin this week, killing 12 and wounding dozens. He remains on the run.
After all, what powers do European states have? Especially one as notoriously incompetent as Germany? I mean, whaddaya whaddaya? Governments can’t just go around making people, much less foreigners, obey the law of the land.
They can? In fact, that’s kind of the point of having a government? Oh …
Mr. Amri’s life and odyssey underscore a vexing problem, common in Europe: how to handle hundreds of thousands of virtually stateless wanderers who are either unwilling or unable to return home.
Many are trying to integrate. Some are slated for deportation, only to melt into society. By their own intention or because of the authorities’ failings, some, like Mr. Amri, slip through the fingers of law enforcement.
Fake documents, an absence of papers and a lack of cooperation from home countries that have little incentive to take them back only widen the bureaucratic gaps they fall through.
Mr. Amri, who was reported to have used perhaps six aliases, arrived in Germany only after Italy, unable to get Tunisia to take him back, ordered him out. Germany decided this was no refugee from war and refused him asylum over the summer. But he could not be deported without a Tunisian passport, which finally arrived this week — after the Berlin attack.
Tens of thousands of deportees survive in Germany on six-month permits, long a choke point in the country’s migration system.
Well, there’s your problem.
It’s almost as if the German political class isn’t trying terribly hard to deal with immigration.
… Terrorism experts have for years pointed to the lack of an overall strategy to combat terrorism in Germany, where judicial and police authority is highly diffused among 16 states and several separate entities at the federal level.
This structure was created deliberately after World War II, when the Allies and the defeated Germans strove to prevent power from ever being centralized again as it was under the Nazis. But it is not clear that the system serves Germany well now. …
From that fringe, and even from her own conservative camp, Ms. Merkel is under fire for what people see as a loss of control over Germany’s borders and who, exactly, enters the country.
She has been demanding for a year that officials get more effective at deporting migrants who are denied asylum, often because they come from countries like Tunisia, which Germany considers safe.
You can hardly expect the famously inefficient German government to accomplish anything in a year.
In many cases, like Mr. Amri’s, people stay on with official permission, known as a “tolerance” in German, that is renewable every six months for a period of at least 18 months.
Even when a flight is arranged to deport them, some people simply do not show. The police have noted Ms. Merkel’s wishes for more deportations but say they are difficult to execute.
In June, federal officials counted 168,000 people in Germany on a tolerance, many of them from Afghanistan, Syria and the Balkans. Of that total, about 37,000, like Mr. Amri, could not be deported for lack of papers, the Süddeutsche Zeitung newspaper said.
But Germany has found it difficult to get North African countries to accept deportees.
At their simple one-story home in Oueslatia, a town in midwestern Tunisia, Mr. Amri’s family — he is the youngest of nine, including five sisters — was in disbelief that he could be responsible for driving into a crowd of Christmas shoppers. …
But even they expressed anger and frustration at the bungling of both the German authorities and the Tunisian government, which they said had all but disowned Mr. Amri.
One sister, noting that Mr. Amri had been detained close to the Swiss border over the summer, asked pointedly why, if her brother was involved with dangerous jihadists, the German police had released him after 48 hours.
… Unlikely ever to be granted legal asylum, Mr. Amri apparently grew frustrated. Nineteen at the time, he and two others set fire to the migrant center in a protest against their living conditions and the slowness of Italy’s procedures. Sentenced to four years in prison, he was bounced around six Sicilian penitentiaries for threatening fellow inmates and spurring revolts, according to a document from the Italian Justice Ministry. …
Out of jail and avoiding deportation, Mr. Amri slipped into Germany: initially the southwestern university town of Freiburg, and then North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state.
Using various sets of papers, he proved “highly mobile,” Ralf Jäger, the state’s interior minister, said, flitting between at least two state offices for foreigners before apparently living mostly in Berlin.
Already listed as a danger to the state, prosecutors say, Mr. Amri came under special surveillance this year from March to September. Officials had received a federal tip that he might be planning a robbery to get money for automatic weapons that could eventually be used in an attack, the Berlin prosecutors’ office said in a statement.
But, despite monitoring Mr. Amri’s communications and observing him directly, the prosecutors could turn up no more than evidence that he was involved in the drug dealing scene around the city’s notorious Görlitzer Park, where he got into a fight with another dealer in a bar.
Because of Germany’s painful experience with totalitarian government, the threshold for legal surveillance is high, and the prosecutors’ statement said they had had no further justification to keep him under watch.
After all he was only a drug-dealing bank-robbing street-brawling arsonist Muslim illegal alien.
Representatives for the prosecutors declined to answer questions.
At some point in April, Mr. Amri applied for asylum in Germany, Mr. Jäger said. The application was rejected in June, and he was ordered deported.
Nonetheless, lacking a passport, Mr. Amri apparently tried to head for Switzerland, boarding a bus for Zurich from the southern town of Friedrichshafen on Lake Constance on July 30.
The police noted his deportation papers and detained him that weekend, but he was ordered released after 48 hours. His lack of Tunisian identity papers meant the German authorities could neither deport nor detain him.
His family said he had been in touch regularly and had given no indication that he was mixed up in radical Islam or planning momentous events.
“He talked to his mother last Friday,” his sister Najwa said, and to another sister on Saturday and Sunday.
“He was taking selfies in public places, so he did not look like he was under control or in difficulty,” Najwa said…
In preparation for his return, the family had helped put together legal papers for him to quash an old sentence imposed in absentia for robbery. They said the accusation had been false.
He’s a good boy, he didn’t do nothing, he was going to sign up for some college classes, he was turning his life around, and he’s an aspiring muezzinist.
“He was fed up with Germany,” another sister, Hafida, 35, said. “He could not get a job, and the language was difficult, and he could not get papers.”
But when matched up against a criminal mastermind like this, what is the poor little government of Germany supposed to do?