The second-most populous state in Germany, Bavaria, recently reconstituted its own border police, which it had dissolved in 1998. The Bavarian Grenzpolizei (German for the green-uniformed “Border Police”) had been charged with enforcing controls along the federal borders of Bavaria and has been been reformed so as to address crimes and immigration law infractions committed by the migrants flooding Germany as a whole. Bavaria’s prime minister, Markus Soder, and interior minister Joachim Herrmann went recently to Passau -- a city near the Czech border -- to see the delivery of aerial drones that were paid for by 14-million euro funding package intended for the renewed Bavarian Border Police. Bavaria, which is the largest state or land in Germany, shares borders with Austria, the Czech Republic, and Switzerland.
In a recent interview on German television, Herrmann said that migrants are required to request asylum at the first place of entry to the European Union. Herrmann said that no migrant has the right to cherry-pick at will the country where he wants to be received nor do they have the right to file multiple requests for asylum in several European countries. The request has to be filed in the first country of arrival and a decision has to be taken there. “That's why we think best to send back those people who just want to move on, to send them back to the country where their first asylum request is treated."
Söder says barrier-free travel across Europe works only if the exterior borders of Europe are protected. "If you have a good garden fence, if everything is secured, then you can leave the front-door of your house open, sometimes. But I have never ever met someone without a garden fence, without any security system - leaving the door of his house open the whole night long... If this European continent will not be able to establish the idea ‘Europe protects,’ all other things will crumble down. And maybe even the stability of our democracy is put at risk to some extent." Soder has consulted with Austrian Prime Minister Sebastian Kurz on border security this summer. Soder’s critics contend that reviving the Bavarian border police is a partisan tactic directed at the October elections in the state.
Besides the new drones, the Bavarian border police has modern equipment that includes mobile scanning and fingerprinting units to immediately process any migrants. Border police will patrol along the borders of Bavaria, and also within a 20 mile border buffer zone. They will have access to the EURODAC database that enables checking on asylum status in Germany and other European countries. Bavaria is about the size of West Virginia, with many times the population of the American state.
Matt O’Brien of the Federation of Americans for Immigration Reform said that in light of the German federal government’s decision to allow more than 1 million migrants into the country over the last three years is an “object-lesson” for leftist politicians in the United States who are calling for the abolition of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. In an article at FAIR, O’Brien wrote: “Nation states must maintain the integrity of their borders but they also must enforce immigration laws against those apprehended in the interior of their territory. Otherwise, they send a clear message that once you dodge the border guards, all immigration law becomes meaningless.”
With the implementation of the Schengen Agreement, which eliminated border controls in the interior of the EU, Germany’s Landespolizei and the Bavarian Grenzpolizei had a reduced level of immigration policing. The Grenzpolizei was absorbed into Bavaria’s Landespolizei in 1998, the latter of which maintained a unit responsible for liaising with the Bundesgrenschutz (BGS): Germany’s paramilitary, federal border guard. With the virtual elimination of external borders of Germany, the BGS was converted from immigration enforcement into the Bundespolizei, a general federal police force.
Bavaria was especially affected by the so-called “Migrant Crisis” of 2015-2016 when hundreds of thousands of illegal aliens applied for asylum in Germany. The Federal Office for Migration and Refugees regularly denied asylum claims, but seldom cooperated with enforcement agencies to ensure the deportation of applicants who were refused.
The reconstituted Bavarian Border Police will patrol the state’s lengthy borders with the neighboring countries and also assist federal authorities with deportations. With its headquarters in Passau, the border police will deploy approximately 1,000 officers.
Likening the situation in Bavaria to that of the United States, O’Brien opined:
“Abolishing ICE is a foolish idea that would endanger the very citizens American political leaders are sworn to protect. And American politicians could learn a lot by observing their Bavarian counterparts.”