Angela Merkel met state governors last night to discuss expelling failed asylum seekers from Germany.
Merkel’s popularity has been seriously dented as a result of her policy of welcoming more than one million immigrants to her country since 2015.
With a general election scheduled for September, she is said to be desperate to boost her chances of securing a fourth term in office.
According to official figures, Germany rejected more than 170,000 asylum applications in 2016 but repatriated only 26,000 people.
Under a 16-point plan drawn up by Merkel and her advisors, police would be allowed to detain people deemed to be a threat, with “federal departure centres” built near airports to house rejected applicants. There will also be an increase in financial incentives to boost voluntary departures.
Germany’s creaking asylum system was exposed last year by the failure to deport the Tunisian Islamic radical Anis Amri. He was denied asylum six months before killing 12 people in the Berlin Christmas market truck attack.
In a separate development, German police announced yesterday they had arrested two Islamists and, they believed, prevented another terror attack.
This week new figures revealed that more than half of Europeans want to ban immigration from predominately Muslim countries.
The study, by London-based think-tank The Royal Institute of International Affairs, found that 55 per cent of Europeans across 10 countries think further immigration from mostly-Muslim countries should stop.
Researchers quizzed more than 10,000 people from Britain, Belgium, Germany, Greece, Spain, France, Italy, Austria, Hungary and Poland. The poll was taken before Donald Trump issued an executive order banning the citizens of seven Muslim-majority states from entering the US.