The German government is struggling to contain a wave of violence that has rocked the country since Europe's refugee crisis began just over three years ago, when Chancellor Angela Merkel first announced her "open doors" policy in response to a wave of refugees fleeing Syria, Afghanistan and North Africa. That policy has since been abandoned after it nearly toppled Merkel's government earlier this year, but the sheer incompetence of German authorities as they struggle to deport criminal migrants continues to inspire awe.
One troubling example was recently highlighted by Germany's Bild newspaper. One illegal migrant who arrived in Germany more than 20 years ago has managed to avoid deportation despite being accused of 542 criminal acts. The reason? German authorities can't figure out which country to deport him to. Meanwhile, the migrant - whose name is unknown - has been allowed to roam free.
The unidentified migrant's rap sheet is extensive, ranging from immigration violations, to theft to drug possession to assault. He has repeatedly claimed to be from Algeria, Morocco and other North African countries. However, no state has confirmed his residency. He has refused to reveal his name to German authorities, and database searches of his fingerprints have yielded no matches.
A politician from Germany's Alternative for Germany party told RT that the man's case was another example of Germany's failed immigration policies.
This quite bizarre case exposes flaws in the current German migration policy, Michael Seyfert, a migration spokesman of the right-wing Alternative for Germany (AfD) party, told RT.
"It is a failure of the system; it is a failure of the government," he said, adding that the German authorities simply "do not dare to [extradite people] as they are afraid of the left-wing media and… protests."
Various "NGOs… protest against it and even try to prevent [deportations] physically," Seyfert added.
Some might brush this story off as an isolated incident. But be assured: it isn't. In fact, nearly one out of every two planned deportations in Germany fall through for various reasons, according to police data cited by German newspaper Die Welt. Indeed, out of 23,900 extraditions planned between January and May 2018, 12,800 failed for various reasons.
Meanwhile, Merkel is looking abroad for a solution. She arrived last week in Senegal, one of Africa's poorest countries, accompanied by a delegation of entrepreneurs from the electrification, automation and infrastructure fields. The trip was intended to encourage German companies to invest more in Africa.
However, these half-hearted gestures and empty promises will do nothing to abate the rash of violent crimes committed by refugees. As one government survey recently found, 90% of violent crimes committed in the German state of Lower Saxony could be attributed to refugees. Popular anger reached a new high after migrants were accused of fatally stabbing a German man in a brawl last week. As far-right groups took to the streets, ordinary Germans have proven too lazy to respond.
But it appears Merkel and her center-right coalition - which have seen popular support fade in the face of the resurgent crisis - will need to learn these lessons the hard way.