A member of Germany’s parliament has come under fire for admitting to smuggling an African refugee into the Western European nation through the trunk of his car, according to The Sun.
Diether Dehm, a 66-year-old member of the far-left Die Linke party, reportedly posted a picture of the refugee in his car in Facebook and is now facing a police investigation after German news outlet Bild am Sonntag exposed his actions.
Dehm initially smuggled the young man out of Italy, then the pair made their way to Switzerland and then crossed over into Germany to reunite the immigrant with his father.
Bild’s report stated: “It concerns a young man from an African war zone. A refugee helper who is friends with Dehm’s children pleaded for his help; after the death of his mother the young man made it across the Mediterranean to Italy to try to reach his father already living in Germany. But he couldn’t make it out of Italy.”
Dehm could face a large fine and the refugee could be deported. “I brought a young orphan from Africa over the border from Italy to Germany to be with his father. The border guards have not registered him,” he said.
In terms of the legality of what he’s done, Dehm told Bild: “I’m at peace with myself.”
The controversy comes in the middle of state elections across Germany and the rise of the anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany party (AfD). As the nation deals with a major influx of immigrants, some 70 percent of which are Muslims, the party recently claimed nearly 21 percent of the electorate in the eastern region of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, which was seen as a major blow to Chancellor Angela Merkel and her pro-refugee conservatives, according to Reuters.
However, Germany remains divided on the issue of immigration. Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU) fell to the AfD in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern but over in the western state of Lower Saxony secured a 34.4 percent of the vote on Monday.