Bavaria opens 'Anker' migrant transit center

Bavaria opens 'Anker' migrant transit center

First migrant center opens in Bavaria

The centers are part of the "migration master plan" of Interior Minister Horst Seehofer. The concept behind the centers is that asylum seekers will be kept there until their right to stay is determined.

Bavaria opens 'Anker' migrant transit center

Controlled immigration

Bavaria will set up a total of seven "Anker" centers, each holding between 1,000 and 1,500 refugees. The name derives from the German words Ankunft, Entscheidung, Rückführung (arrival, decision, return). The aim is to create a sort "one-stop" center with all the relevant government agencies required to complete the entire asylum process represented on site.

Bavaria opens 'Anker' migrant transit center

Critics warn of ghettoization

Church groups, refugee advocates and opposition parties have all voiced their concern, describing the centers as deportation camps and warning of the ghettoization of migrant communities. The NGO Save the Children said the centers were "no place for children," as they facilitated "tension and aggression."

Bavaria opens 'Anker' migrant transit center

Compromise solution

The centers are the result of a last-minute political deal between Chancellor Angela Merkel and Interior Minister Horst Seehofer. His initial plan to turn migrants away at the border created a political crisis that could have toppled the coalition government of Merkel's Christian Democrats, their Bavarian sister party the CSU and the Social Democrats.

Bavaria opens 'Anker' migrant transit center

Little enthusiasm for centers in Germany

The decision to create the centers was taken at federal government level, but responsibility lies with Germany's individual states. Bavaria — where Seehofer's conservative CSU faces a crucial state election in October — has taken the initiative. But others have delayed the establishment of the migrant transfer centers or refused to take part in the policy.

The southern German state of Bavaria has opened the first controversial center to process migrants arriving through the Austrian border. The facilities are part of a plan to reduce the number of asylum seekers.