As Germany grapples with an extraordinary week of violence, critics have raised concerns over the system for admitting and settling asylum seekers and migrants from war-ravaged countries. Many of these attacks, including the Munich shootings, happened in or near the southeastern German state of Bavaria, which is the first point of contact in the country for many Middle Eastern migrants arriving through Greece and then the Balkans.
“The Munich residents were really the ones who came out with big placards saying ‘welcome refugees’ — there was a huge movement to accept refugees at the time,” explained CNN’s Berlin-based correspondent Atika Shubert. “I think that probably now a lot of people might be starting to think: ‘Well, we welcomed a lot of refugees, but is this now coming back to harm us?'”
“Even though these attacks are unrelated — and one was carried out by a German-born national — the public in part see it as a wider threat brought about by the influx of refugees,” said Shubert. “On a normal day, this is not how people feel,” she continued. “But because you’ve got some of these attacks perpetrated by refugees, it’s playing into their worst fears.”
On entering Germany refugees are placed in a reception center, where a long procedure for asylum gets underway. While applications are being considered by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), asylum seekers are given temporary rights to stay while their case is heard. Meanwhile, those granted asylum status receive a temporary residence permit and are given the same status as Germans within the social insurance system — meaning they are entitled to social welfare, child benefits, integration allowances and language courses.
German Chancellor previously said the country may take in 500,000 more refugees in the years to come. Her plan to set aside 6 billion euros ($6.8 billion) to house and care for 800,000 new refugee applicants last year is coming under greater scrutiny from the public.