Nations Rebound: German Politics of Deporting Afghans

  • Martin Sökefeld (Author)


This article traces the development of German politics of deporting Afghans. Since the great influx of refugees in 2015 – which doubled the number of Afghans in Germany – the asylum acceptance rate of Afghan refugees has been reduced while at the same time the government has made efforts to increase the number of deportations, arguing that parts of Afghanistan are “safe” for deportees, in spite of increasing violence in the country. Using a logic of deservingness, politicians maintain that the only persons deported are those who refuse to “integrate”. In fact, however, more “well-integrated” Afghans are deported than persons with a criminal record. Within the context of an increasingly restrictive asylum system, the emphasis on deportations has to be understood as an attempt to counter the rise of right-wing populism in Germany. Yet activists who support individual refugees and rejected asylum seekers, trying to prevent their deportation, increasingly contest this approach. By pointing out that particular persons who are threatened by deportation are “well integrated” and therefore deserve to stay, these activists essentially accept and reinforce the logic of deservingness. The article argues that the deportee epitomises the current reterritorialisation of nation-states and global system of unequal (im)mobility.


Deportation, refugees, deservingness, asylum, politics, Afghanistan, Germany