Three years after a massive influx of refugees started pouring into Germany, just about everyone has come to the agreement that the situation got out of hand. German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who initially stood firm on keeping Germany’s borders open, has admitted herself that Germany could have, and should have, done better. After creating one of the most political divides the country has seen since its reunification, German Interior Minister Thomas de Maiziere announced some reassuring numbers on Tuesday that saw a continued decline in new refugees in 2017.
186,644 refugees in 2017
The number of new asylum seekers, as recorded by the Office of Migrants and Refugees (BAMF), was down to only 186,644 in 2017. This year-end number is a far cry from the estimated 890,000 during the peak of the crisis in 2015, and still down quite a bit from 2016’s estimated 280,000 applicants.
While the trend is a good sign, de Maiziere isn’t ready to get his happy dance on. In his view the numbers are still too high, and despite a drastic improvement in refugee screenings, work still needs to be done to stop the number of criminal smugglers taking advantage of the system. Integration of refugees into the German society is also among the areas that de Maiziere thinks the country needs to improve on.