Germany grants residency to crying refugee girl's family

A 14-year-old Palestinian refugee who made headlines after crying during a televised meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel has been granted a residency permit, mass circulation newspaper Bild reported Thursday.

Reem Sahlwil - who shot to fame when she confronted Merkel about her family's possible deportation back to Lebanon - will be allowed to remain in Germany until October 2017, the newspaper reported, citing the immigration office in the city of Rostock.

Merkel faced controversy after a meeting with schoolchildren during which she told Reem that "politics is sometimes hard" and that Germany wouldn't be able to manage an unchecked influx of Palestinian refugees.

The chancellor's subsequent attempt to console Reem when the girl started to cry - described by critics as "heartless" - caused a Twitter storm, with the hashtag #merkelstreichelt, or "Merkel strokes," becoming a number one trending topic in Germany.

Immigration is a contentious topic in Germany, where an unprecedented influx of asylum seekers from countries including Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Eritrea has placed a strain on public services.

Over 1 million people are expected to apply for asylum in the country this year.

Merkel's decision to suspend the so-called Dublin accord and to do away with all effective vetting of asylum applications from Syria has been criticized in light of growing anti-immigrant sentiment among Germans and the recent popularity of street protests against the perceived "Islamization" of the country.

Last update: Thu, 24/12/2015 - 13:48
Author: 

More from Europe

Left-winger and former premier top French primary

Benoit Hamon and Manuel Valls were out in front in France's nationwide primary on Sunday to choose who will be the...

Romanian president joins thousands in anti-government rally

Thousands of Romanians were joined by President Klaus Iohannis in a street protest in Bucharest on Sunday against...

Suspected accomplice detained in Germany in foiled Vienna attack

A 21-year-old man and his wife have been arrested in their home in the western German city of Neuss on suspicion of...

May vows to press Trump on "unacceptable" remarks in Friday meeting

British Prime Minister Theresa May on Sunday vowed to confront US President Donald Trump about any "unacceptable"...

Hungarian bus company probed for negligence after Italy crash

Criminal negligence charges are being mulled against the owners of a bus that was in a fatal accident in Italy at...