Germany is still taking in around 2,000 refugees a day, but it is now denying entry to about 200 others daily at its borders, the country’s interior minister said Sunday.
The tighter border controls come after the EU's top economy last year took in a record 1.1 million refugees and migrants, straining resources and sparking heated political debate.
"People who are fleeing war and persecution are offered security and protection in Germany," the minister, Thomas de Maiziere, told the newspaper Bild am Sonntag.
"But that also means those who do not seek this protection from us are refused entry at the border,” he said. "Anyone who doesn't want to apply for political asylum in Germany and wants to illegally enter Germany has no right to be here."
So far this year, federal police had rejected up to 200 people a day, he said -- compared to just 400 people in all of October when border controls and registration procedures buckled under a mass influx.
The ministry said that so far this year, despite winter, about 2,000 refugees had arrived every day.