The number of refugees crossing the border to Germany without permission is expected to be higher this year than at any time since the migration crisis in 2016, according to official data published on Saturday, reported dpa.
Last month, the federal police recorded 21,366 refugees who entered the country irregularly — about twice as many as in July, when it was 10,714.
It was the highest monthly figure since February 2016, when 25,650 people were registered. That year, after the peak of the refugee crisis driven by Syria's civil war, almost 112,000 people came to the country without permission.
This year is on track to exceed that number, with 92,119 cases from January to September.
The topic has become increasingly controversial in recent months as the German government shapes its new migration policy.
The latest numbers were released a day after the leaders of the three parties in the country's ruling coalition met in Berlin to wrangle with the issue.
"We must finally deport on a grand scale those who have no right to stay in Germany," Chancellor Olaf Scholz told Der Spiegel magazine before the meeting.
According to Scholz, "a whole bundle of measures" are needed to limit irregular migration, including better protection of the European Union's external borders and tighter controls on Germany's borders with neighbouring EU countries.
However, Germany must continue welcoming refugees who are entitled to asylum because of political persecution or other legitimate reasons, Scholz said, and also must attract more immigrants with in-demand skills.