Reducing the Number of Arrivals via the German Asylum System

A peculiarity of the German public discourse are debates about Obergrenzen (upper limits) for asylum applicants. Such debates are often brushed aside as being unfeasible from a legal perspective. That is correct if we understand upper limits as an absolute maximum above which any additional application will be automatically rejected. Recurring debates about Obergrenzen indicate, however, that they serve, in the public discourse, as a symbol for the more general question whether states should undertake measures to reduce the number of arrivals, albeit indirectly, and whether the situation in Germany justifies doing so. Daniel Thym discusses these intricate matters combining the law and political debates in an open-ed for the FRANKFURTER ALLGEMEINEN ZEITUNG (‘Obergrenze im Asylrecht: Humanität und Härte’, in German). On the necessary combination of instruments, see the public television channel ZDF ('Berlin direkt', in German).