Cargo City South, a transit zone on the grounds of Frankfurt Airport, is home to a major European logistics hub and a handful of failed asylum seekers awaiting deportation.

Officials stress that the two-storey migrant accommodation there is not a prison, but the nine residents are not allowed to leave, having been denied entry to the country.

Those who flee from a country deemed by the German government to be safe - such as the Western Balkan states, Ghana or Senegal - can expect a decision on their claim for asylum within two days. This also applies to people who arrive without valid identification.

But the fast-tracked procedure can result in decisions that many migrants claim do not acknowledge the peril they face if returned home.

"We all have big problems in our countries," a 45-year-old from Cameroon says. "They wanted to kill me."

He explains that the young man next to him has already been sent back to his home country of Angola once before. "With lots of police," The Cameroonian adds, while the man in question crosses his arms and legs to demonstrate how he was taken onto a plane in cuffs.

Six hundred and twenty-seven asylum seekers went through the so-called airport procedure last year, according to Germany's Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), with Frankfurt Airport, Germany's biggest, the main point of arrival.

Of those 627, 549 were allowed entry to Germany, with the summary proceedings proving too short for authorities to come to a conclusive decision on the applicant's right to asylum.

Seventy-four of the applications were rejected in that two-day period on the grounds that they were "manifestly unfounded," leading to 72 appeals, of which just two were upheld.

The failed asylum seekers' length of stay in transit accommodation depends on how long it takes the federal police to arrange the necessary paperwork for their return, says Michael Duchardt, who runs the home at Frankfurt Airport.

Until then, Duchardt says it is his job running the home and as a social worker to make the migrants' stay as comfortable as possible.

The accelerated decision-making process at Germany's airports can lead to "gross errors of judgement," says Olivia Reckmann of Catholic aid group Caritas.

"Without the commitment of churches, lawyers and [advocacy group] Pro Asyl, people would be sent back again and again to situations that put their lives in danger," she adds.

Pro Asyl gives one Afghan man's case as a recent example. Despite having been singled out by the Taliban as a target in his home country, his asylum claim in Germany never made it past the airport.

"It took the work of three lawyers assigned by Pro Asyl, a fair amount of research and one constitutional complaint filed at the Federal Constitutional Court in order to avert the imminent threat of deportation," says Bernd Mesovic, a spokesman for the group.

But not everyone can count on having that kind of support.

Those living in the accommodation at Cargo City South have access to a football pitch, a fitness studio and a basketball court. There is a telephone for making calls both inland and abroad and a television room with a selection of DVDs to pass the time.

One boy plays table football with a security guard at the facility. He comes from somewhere in Africa; officials have not been able to discern his exact country of origin. He says he's 17 years old, which - if true - makes him another applicant failed by the system

"Unaccompanied, foreign minors are allowed entry," says Manfred Becker, a local government official in charge of social work.

But judging the age of undocumented young asylum seekers is a guessing game. Each potential minor is interviewed by two youth welfare officers and, after the conversation, it is up to them to decide whether that person is of age or not, a task which Caritas' Reckmann calls "impossible."

In many cases, minors act very mature for their age. Youngsters who find themselves fleeing war, persecution and misery "cannot afford to be a child," Reckmann says.

Related stories

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.