There is a still-developing affair surrounding the former head of the Bremen field office of the German Federal Agency for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), named as Ulrike B., who is suspected of having illegaly granted asylum requests in at least 1,176 cases. Her motivation is still diffuse from what is publically known; she is noted to have cared about the fate of Yazidis in Iraq in social media, and most of those who benefited from her actions are reported to be Kurds of that religion. She also seems to have colluded with a lawyer named as Irfan C. for the benefit of his clients between 2013 and 2016, and may have either accepted gratifications like restaurant outings or had a personal relationship with him. Applicants were reportedly even bussed to Bremen from the neighbor states of Lower Saxony and NRW for this purpose; only about 100 were living in the city itself. Two other lawyers, an interpreter and at least one more person are also being investigated, and several more BAMF staffers had their IT access blocked and were transfered due to suspected involvement.
As it has turned out, as far back as July 2014 the head of the BAMF's field offices in Friedland and Oldenburg, Lower Saxony, complained to both B. and national HQ that she was interferring with cases in his AOR, like suddenly notifying a court that two Iraqis up for deportation would get a stay. Apparently one Sunday in 2015 she logged into the BAMF system and filed 25 follow-on asylum requests at one go for Iraqis who had first applied in Austria and should have gone back there under the rules of the Dublin Agreements. HQ didn't however get in gear until January 2016, when disciplinary proceedings were opened that involved her being removed as field office head and her access to the IT system blocked in July, though she kept working at the office in quality management (...).
In September the same year the Lower Saxony state minister of interior complained to the president of the BAMF in person about two deportations that had failed after the Bremen office had issued a ban. Even after disciplinary proceedings against B. ended in the spring of 2017, she might have been involved in illicit actions; in June that year, one of her co-workers advised HQ that there may have been "hundreds" of cases over the years. In October, new internal investigations were started, and in November BAMF finally filed a criminal complaint over a false asylum grant which led to police investigations of the aforementioned suspects. Three weeks ago, various of their offices and dwellings were searched, and B. was put on administrative leave.
This week, a leaked internal report by the acting new head of the Bremen field office, Josefa Schmid, was presented by national broadcaster ZDF, which states that there had been at least 3,332 cases illicitely processed there between 2015 and 2017, and possibly more before that, which may have resulted in wrong asylum grants; though a lot of the problems she listed are a litany of stuff that has been known to occur throughout the field offices, mostly due to work overload in the crisis years of 2015/16, like identities not properly ascertained, passports not checked for validity, no fingerprints taken, etc.* Bremen prosecutors investigating the affair have said that they can't confirm the numbers so far, anyway.
However, Schmid also stated that in view of the numerous ineffective complaints by staffers to HQ, the impression was that the latter was not really interested in resolving the issue, and possibly involved in it; she therefore suggested a neutral investigative body. To prove her charges of CYA right, she was promptly removed as an office head the day after the TV report, banned from entering her office and transfered back to her native Bavaria "for her protection", though she is fighting the decision in court. Just two weeks ago, BAMF president Jutta Cordt told the Bundestag's interior committee that she was seeing no systemic problem in her agency, though she couldn't rule out that control procedures could be circumvented with subversive collusion of several staffers. Anyway, the Interior Ministry is having a total of 4,500 decisions revisited as part of a new QA system, something that has been done before in the last two years.
It's of course not surprising that a major agency dealing with processing the cases of refugees would include folks who are sympathetic to the pro-asylum cause, though most would probably not go the lengths in this affair. It should be recalled that a major factor for the 2015 refugee crisis was an internal BAMF memo that the Dublin rules will be temporarily suspended to concentrate on processing the growing number of arrivals, which was somehow forwarded to a pro-asylum organization that promptly plastered it all over the net. But in fact Bremen has been known for years for being big on awarding protection status and small on deportations; in 2017, acceptance rate for Iraqis there was 96 percent compared to the national average of 64.5, and for Iranians it was 86 vs. 57, both at the national top. Other nationalities like Ethiopians, Somalis and Turks showed no peculiarities though, or were actually at the low end. The emerging shenanigans would explain a lot of that, particularly considering the apparent sympathy for Kurds/Yazidis.
* Crash-hiring additional staff did not necessarily improve quality in the short term, particularly in the freelance field. This and last year, 2,100 interpreters alone were terminated as help due to issues ranging from shoddy work to lack of trust in their neutrality, and in some cases reporting on applicants to Turkish intelligence. There is the well-known case of the Bundeswehr 1LT arrested a year ago on the suspicion of having planned false-flag terror attacks; this guy presented himself as a refugee from a French-Syrian family and was awarded protection status though he didn't even speak Arabic. He is no longer considered a flight risk and was released from remand last November, but charges are pending.