The current state of play: Germany has received 521,000 migrants (g) so far this year. In the first three weeks of September alone, Germany received 107,464 migrants. For those of you keeping score at home, that's 35,821 per week. There are 13 weeks left in this year. If the rate of arrivals remains constant, Germany will get another 465,677 migrants by the end of the year. So yes, it looks like one million is the current best estimate of how many migrants will arrive in 2015 alone. How many will come in 2016? Who knows?
But let's look at an individual case. Yesterday we met Hamza, the 27-year-old Algerian convicted drug dealer and attempted murderer who is likely now somewhere in Germany.
What will happen to him? Well, once in Germany, he will file a claim for asylum. That will take about 6 months to be decided, at the current rate. Assuming Germany will actually be able to detect that he was lying about his background, and that he can't come up with some other reason for claiming asylum, it will be denied. But don't give up too easily, Hamza. You can always claim you were in prison for political activism, not trying to murder a rival dealer. You will have tons of convincing evidence that you were actually in prison, and there has been political activism in Algeria. If you're careful, you might just spin that into a winning asylum claim.
But assume Hamza's claim is denied. He certainly isn't going to meekly accept that decision and go back to Algeria. After all, there are probably a bunch of rival dealers secret police waiting to kill him there. So he will file an appeal. While the appeal is being decided, he will continue receiving food, shelter and a daily stipend from the German government.
The German government tries to move people out of the First Reception Centers as soon as their asylum claim is denied. They go to privately-run shelters or apartments. The government pays their rent. The rent stipend differs from state to state, but currently in Berlin, for example, it's €35 Euro per night.
A math and ethics exercise: You are a landlord currently receiving €850 per month in rent for a 2-bedroom apartment. If you kicked out the people who are there now and replaced them with a migrant family of 4, your monthly rental income rises to €4200. What do you do?
Back to Hamza. If he knows what he's doing -- and drug dealers tend to be pretty savvy -- he and his lawyer will take advantage of all of the many appeals the German legal system affords for rejected asylum claims. A fair estimate is that his case will take 2 years to decide. Plus the initial 6 months, that comes out to 912 days. Assuming very liberally that the per diem costs of housing and feeding Hamza are only €50, that comes out to €45,625. Add to that the cost of social workers, German courses, job training, free local transportation, interpreters, the time of all the lawyers and judges needed to file the asylum claim and appeals. And any medical care Hamza requires during his tenure. All of which will be provided free by the German state.
I'd say an extremely conservative estimate of the total costs Hamza -- a man who has no legal right to be in Germany (he said himself: "I'm illegal, not refugee"), and who is siphoning resources from actual war refugees -- will cost the German state at least €200,000 during his stay.
And then comes the fateful day when all of Hamza's appeals are exhausted, and he receives a letter warning him, in advance, of his impending deportation. Hamza and his lawyer will, of course, have an independent chance to challenge the deportation order itself, which they will use. If that fails, Hamza will likely go underground, joining the 600,000 residents of Germany already here who were supposed to be deported but didn't go.
Even if they manage to get Hamza onto a plane for deportation to Algeria, all he has to do is tell the captain that he is there against his will. The captain will then let him leave the plane as a security risk. The €700 special ticket bought by the German government will go to waste.
Believe it or not, this is a pretty accurate depiction of the typical German procedure for deciding asylum claims at this point, pending any changes. Feel free to correct me if you think I've gotten anything wrong. If you ask me, this system is not only expensive but broken. It would have a hard time fairly and efficiently processing 20,000 asylum claims. Faced with 1 million, it will melt down spectacularly. In fact it's already doing that right now.