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Border controlGermany's Migration Office failed to detect forged passports

Published 19 September 2016

Critics say that Germany’s Federal Migration Office (BAMF) has not resolved severe security flaws which resulted in officials failing to detect counterfeit passports used by refugees entering the country. The attorney general for the state of Brandenburg, Erado Rautenberg, is now seeking to seize around 18,000 records from BAMF. Fake passports were seized in the southern German state of Bavaria. What is troubling security agencies is the fact that the passports were previously determined to be legitimate by the asylum office. Some 3,300 more passports are also being reanalyzed in the north-eastern state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

Critics say that Germany’s Federal Migration Office (BAMF) has not resolved severe security flaws which resulted in officials failing to detect counterfeit passports used by refugees entering the country.

German public broadcaster RBB reports that the attorney general for the state of Brandenburg, Erado Rautenberg, is now seeking to seize around 18,000 records from BAMF.

Rautenberg’s office wants to investigate a number of cases from the end of 2015 in which refugees arrived in Brandenburg without being properly identified.

I want to know who is here,” Rautenberg told the broadcaster. “And if something were to happen, I do not want to blame myself for not having done all I could have to prevent it.”

RBB also reported that fake passports were seized in the southern German state of Bavaria. What is troubling security agencies is the fact that the passports were previously determined to be legitimate by the asylum office. Some 3,300 more passports are also being reanalyzed in the north-eastern state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

Bavarian Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann said local authorities in his state had examined a random sample of migrant passports and that a “significant portion” of them were reported as counterfeit, but had not been detected by BAMF.

Herrmann was unsparing in his criticism of the Federal Migration Office.

I cannot understand why the office, which should carefully analyze each and every passport, is unable to distinguish these fake passports,” he said. “We cannot accept this given the current situation and security in our country.”

Herrmann also said that all German states should plan on how to tackle the issue. “I want to discuss this problem with federal Interior Minister de Maiziere in the coming weeks, because this is simply not acceptable,” he added.

BAMF directgor, Frank-Jürgen Weise, defended his office, saying that migration processes were becoming more efficient.