It's come to this: Merkel now offering cash for migrants to leave the country

On Friday we talked about new proposals coming from German Chancellor Angela Merkel which made it sound as if she was taking a new and even harder line on deporting troublesome immigrants from her country. There were a few other details in her proposals which were left out of the main headlines however. As it turns out, there are some incentive options on the table for those who took advantage of Germany’s open-door policies but are now not feeling quite so welcome in the shifting political climate of an election year. And when you’re talking about incentives there is really nothing that beats good old-fashioned hard cash. (Daily Mail)

Angela Merkel will offer cash handouts worth millions of pounds for migrants to leave Germany in an effort to silence criticism of her ‘open-door’ border policy.

In a highly-embarrassing U-turn over the ill-fated plan, which saw 1.2million migrants flock to the country, Mrs Merkel has now vowed to send many of them home.

The German chancellor agreed a package of measures to speed up the deportation process for an estimated 450,000 migrants who have been rejected asylum.

While the individual amounts to be offered to each migrant are not listed, we’re talking about €76 million in total expenditures for the country. This of course begs a couple of immediate questions. How is the bureaucracy supposed to set up a program on short notice to determine who does and does not qualify for such a generous offer? And even having determined the proper recipients of such largess, German citizens will no doubt be wondering precisely how the government will ensure that those accepting the paychecks are actually leaving. Far be it from me to assign bad intentions to anyone, but it seems that if someone is already in the country under dubious legal conditions, it’s not a huge stretch to imagine that they might take the money and run… but not out of the country.

Let’s also keep in mind that the program will apply to some unknown number of more than 1 million migrants who took advantage of Merkel’s open border policies over the past few years. And this program is voluntary. (Where this taking place in a different country, a less charitable person might refer to it as “self deportation.”) While it will be interesting to see what sort of results this produces, let’s just say that I’m skeptical for the time being.

All of this takes place in the shadow of Germany’s elections which are coming up in September. We have written here at great length about Merkel’s tenuous position and the fact that her party has been steadily losing seats in regional races. She has shown a bit of resiliency of late in the polls and her experience as a politician is helping her to make adjustments in response to public outcry against her policies. Is that going to be enough? Merkel’s faced tough battles before and come out on top, but I don’t recall a time when she had to actually begin handing out cash in order to move the needle in her direction.