The Christian Social Union in Bavaria (CSU), a party aligned with German Chancellor Angela Merkel has proposed that all young immigrants applying for asylum must undergo medical tests to accurately determine their age. The consensus is many young asylum seekers, mostly males, lie about their age to get favourable access to housing and other benefits.
Medical testing procedures would include conducting an x-ray on the hand to evaluate bone development and measuring teeth.
The proposal was quickly opposed by the German Medical Association. According to its President, Frank Ulrich Montgomery, the proposal is both unreliable and unethical:
“The investigations are complex, expensive and burdened with great uncertainties. If you were to do this with every refugee, it would be an interference in their human welfare.”
Calls for stricter qualifying measures grew louder after a 15 year old girl was stabbed to death by an Afghan immigrant who claims he is of the same age as the victim.
The killing happened outside a shop in Kandel, a city in Southwestern Germany. The suspect said he killed the girl after she ended their relationship.
The girl’s father does not believe the suspect is also 15 years old and hopes that medical testing can accurately prove his age.
Presently, verbal interviews are used to determine the age of the asylum applicant. Medical testing for the moment is strictly voluntary.
However, the CSU insists on such testing to become compulsory and will work the process out with its coalition partner the Social Democrats which opposes the proposal.
The murder of the 15 year old girl in Kandel is not the first criminal incident involving an asylum seeker who falsely disclosed his actual age.
In October of 2016, an asylum seeker from Iran allegedly raped and killed a 19-year old student in Freiburg. During the trial, the suspect claimed he was 16 but his own father told the court his son was already 33.
The victim was the daughter of a top European Union official.
Bavaria’s Interior Minister Joachim Herrmann reiterated the need for stricter procedures in qualifying asylum applicants:
“I want everyone who comes into our country and claims to be a teenager to be medically checked for their age. Young people cost the state more money in special care and have a lower criminal liability. The state cannot basically leave it that way.”