German chancellor Angela Merkel is receiving an outpouring of love online from Syrians, this comes after German authorities dropped a bureaucratic procedure that may allow Syrian citizens to claim refugee status in Germany.
Earlier this week, the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), an office within the German Ministry of Interior Affairs, announced in a tweet that it will no longer adhere to the European Union’s Dublin Regulation for Syrian cases only.
“Under the rule, migrants can only apply for asylum in the first EU member state they enter, and face deportation if they try to apply in another,” The Telegraph reports.
This means Germany will no longer deport asylum seekers from Syria and they can claim refugee status in Germany.
“In theory, the Dublin procedure should stop refugees from seeking asylum in multiple countries, sometimes referred to as "asylum shopping." In practice, however, it has meant responsibility for migrants often fell disproportionately on countries such as Italy or Greece where migrants first arrived,” Adam Taylor writes for The Washington Post.
In response to this move, Syrians took to social media to praise Germany and in particular, Chancellor Merkel.
“Some users adapted a poster and slogan used by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to hail Merkel instead. Others compared the German leader to the Christian king Negus, who sheltered Muslims during the Crusades. One Facebook user wrote: "We will tell our children that Syrian migrants fled their country to come to Europe when Mecca and Muslim lands were closer to them."
In July, Merkel was criticized for being insensitive towards refugees when a Palestinian immigrant girl broke down in tears after the chancellor explained to her that she could not stop her family’s possible deportation.
Merkel has also faced a hostile response from Germans opposed to immigration. On Wednesday, Merkel was booed by anti-refugee protesters when she visited a government migrant shelter near Dresden.
However, in the midst of Germany's refugee crisis, and cases of anti-immigrant sentiment, many Germans continue to display a different spirit.
In an effort to help refugees develop skills and integrate into European society, some German universities are providing free education, language tuition, and financial assistance to asylum seekers in the country.
Earlier this month, a German bus driver caused passengers – both German and foreign – to burst into applause after he paused to welcome asylum seekers.
According to the latest data, Germany admits far more immigrants than any other country in Europe. In 2014, Germany received six times the number of asylum seeker applicants than Britain, and twice as many as any other country in Europe, The Guardian reported.
Last year more than 7.6 million foreigners were registered as living in Germany – the highest number since record-keeping began in 1967. The country recently announced that it expects 750,000 refugees to arrive this year, more than twice as many as the 300,000 new arrivals predicted in January.