German Return Policy and the German Deportation Regime

Workshop on the State of Research Behind/Beyond the Public Debate

Since the long summer of migration in 2015, new legislative initiatives in the area of return policy in Germany have been introduced time and again. The declared aim is always to deport more people more efficiently, to detain more people pending deportation, to deport dangerous persons or offenders or, according to the latest statement made by Federal Chancellor Olaf Scholz in October 2023, to deport people "on a large scale". While it is clear to everyone involved that deportation policies are inefficient, that they primarily produce violence, suffering and resistance, and that a policy based on the return of migrants does not achieve its self-imposed goals, these debates repeatedly serve to symbolise state control and sovereignty as part of a populist discourse.

But what happens behind the scenes of the public debate? How does deportation policy work in Germany? Where and through which institutions do deportations and return-oriented policies take place? How do deportations affect communities, and how is resistance to these policies organised?

At the same time as the current heated debates about a new deportation offensive in Germany, the two new research projects GAPs and MORE on deportations, return-oriented policies, their externalisation outside Europe and possible alternatives are being launched as part of the Horizon Europe programme. As German cooperation partners in the two research projects GAPs and MORE, BICC and its project partners aim  to map the research landscape on German return and deportation policies in this two-day workshop. Together we want to look at the actors, institutions, practices and procedures of the German deportation regime. Through the workshop, we hope to establish new connections or expand existing ones, to bring existing research into an interdisciplinary exchange, to sift through the research landscape and make it transparent, to discuss approaches and findings together, and to explore gaps for further research.

More information here