German parliament approves tougher asylum rules

BERLIN - The German parliament on Thursday approved new measures to tighten asylum rules in an effort to stem an unprecedented influx of migrants.

The package, which includes measures such as restricting family reunions for some migrants, was approved with a large majority of 429 votes to 147 against. The new rules also lower the hurdles for the expulsion of convicted foreigners – a key measure proposed after the New Year’s rampage in Cologne.

Chancellor Angela Merkel has come under intense pressure to reduce the number of asylum seekers in Germany, which saw an influx of around 1.1 million in 2015. Under the new rules, some migrants will be blocked from bringing their families to join them in Germany for two years.

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