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Germany Tightens Asylum Rules as Merkel Stems Refugee Flow

  • Schaeuble says border-closure advocates peddling `illusion'
  • Merkel under pressure ahead of state elections as EU bickers
Migrants seeking asylum play in Hangar 7 at the former Tempelhof Airport in Berlin, on Feb. 11, 2016.

Migrants seeking asylum play in Hangar 7 at the former Tempelhof Airport in Berlin, on Feb. 11, 2016.

Photographer: Sean Gallup/Getty Images
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Germany’s parliament backed tighter asylum rules sought by Chancellor Angela Merkel, giving her a domestic tool to reduce a record influx of refugees as she struggles to set up barriers at Europe’s outer borders.

Lower-house lawmakers passed the restrictions by a vote of 429 to 147 on Thursday after Merkel brokered a deal that bridged differences within her three-party coalition over how welcoming Europe’s biggest economyshould be after refugee arrivals surged last year. The measures aim to speed up the processing of asylum requests, hasten the expulsion of those who don’t qualify and restrict family reunions for some refugees.