German interior minister seeks to increase border controls: report

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BERLIN, Nov. 6 (Xinhua) -- German Interior Minister Horst Seehofer is planning to increase national border controls to take action against illegal entries and abusive asylum applications, Germany's largest newspaper Bild reported on Wednesday.

"If the rule of law does not prevail here, the population will lose confidence in our entire asylum system," Seehofer told Bild.

According to the report, Seehofer wants to introduce border checkpoints on country roads as well as to expand random police checks.

Regular searches of people would be allowed even without a specific reason and anyone trying to cross the border despite an entry ban would be rejected immediately, the newspaper reported.

Seehofer also was quoted as saying that in addition to already existing laws, people who applied for asylum despite an entry ban would no longer be released from custody before they were sent to prison or deported from Germany.

In September, Seehofer had already announced to extend random police checks at every German border to fight secondary migration, referring to the movement of asylum seekers between members of the European Union.

According to German jurisdiction, authorities are allowed to stop, search or check the identity of any person for no apparent reason in the scope of random police checks. Illegal entry to Germany is to be punished with up to three years of prison.

Many German politicians have criticized Seehofer for his plans to intensify border controls. Eva Hoegl, parliamentary vice-chairwoman of the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) defended the concept of open borders across Europe.

The SPD politician described open borders as "a great asset and an achievement" and advised to "coordinate with the European partners" and not to "decide unilaterally on any kind of border control".

Irene Mihalic, spokesperson on domestic policy for the German Green party said that "extended" and "permanent" border controls between members of the European Schengen agreement would be a "dangerous anti-European signal" and warned that it would take the German police "to the limits of their capabilities and beyond." Enditem

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