Germany is now a focal point for its immigration debate in Europe.
The European country has opened its doors to asylum-seekers and refugees searching for a safe harbor. What happens to asylum seekers that are turned off? Regrettably, if they appeal the decision regarding their rejected asylum applications and therefore are deniedthey risk deportation. According to Germany’s Office of Immigration and Refugees, the nation has rejected 210,000 asylum seekers.
But several German pilots have been preventing asylum seekers from being deported at a truly”Hail Mary” fashion.
Throughout all 2017, these pilots refused to fly planes put to deport 222 Afghan asylum seekers. The stand down from those flights stems from a controversial European Union decision to designate Afghanistan as a”safe country of origin.” The designation led in many Afghan nationals dropping their asylum status.Out of all the flights which refused to take off, 85 were operated by Lufthansa (or its subsidiary Eurowing). The majority of these flights were scheduled to take in Frankfurt and Düsseldorf, in which, according to Quartz, the #WelcomeUnited campaign often holds their pro-refugee protests.Photo from Daniel Leal-Olivias/AFP/Getty Images. However, it should be noted that some had additional motives for refusing to take off. Contrary to the U.S., Germany’s federal government is barred from conducting and implementing deportation, meaning that deportation is the responsibility of the local and state authorities. Thus, these protests add more obstacles to the powerful deportation of asylum seekers.
Pilots Struggling to fly deportation flights are just 1 example of activists and airline companies shoving back against deportations.
In July, Swedish activist Elin Errson made headlines for live-streaming her refusal to sit down because an Afghan man on the flight was about to be deported.”I need him to get off the plane because he’s not secure in Afghanistan,” Errson said inside her live-stream. “I’m trying to change my country’s rules. I don’t like them. It isn’t right to send people to hell.” More recently, others have chained themselves to tires to physically prevent bicycles from carrying out deportations.Airline companies are also taking part. American Airlines, Frontier Airlines, and United Airlines also have publicly declared their refusal to deport immigrant children in response to President Trump’s family separation policy. Along with these, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, and Alaskan Airlines all have introduced public statements criticizing the U.S. immigration policy.Let’s expect other airlines take note and join the good fight.