A senior figure in German Chancellor Angela Merkel's party has called for the deportation of up to 1,000 failed asylum seekers a day. "If on average one in two [asylum] applications is decided negatively, then the federal states have a duty to deport 1,000 rejected asylum seekers every day," Peter Tauber, general secretary of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), told the Rheinische Post newspaper.
More than one million refugees and migrants entered Germany in 2015, after Merkel declared the country would offer asylum to all Syrian refugees. Mass sexual assaults committed by refugees in Cologne on New Year's Eve have prompted fears that the policy has placed Germans at risk.
Tauber said that the number of refugees and immigrants entering the country every day had fallen from a peak of 10,000 in November 2015, to around 3,000 in January 2016, which he said was still "too many". He said that there should be zero tolerance for immigrants and refugees who fail to integrate: "For them the message is 'You can't stay here!'
Merkel has faced calls from opposition leaders to reverse her asylum policy following the Cologne attacks, with the far-right Pegida party holding a series of rallies to gain support for its hardline anti-immigration policies.
The German government is currently considering a tough new package that would allow authorities to deport immigrants convicted of serious offences such as sex crimes more easily, ahead of an emergency Bundestag debate on Wednesday 13 January.