If you were the state of Virginia, and one day....some state official noted that you were missing 18,000 people (like they'd just walked off the face of the Earth)....you'd probably sit there and ask questions. Did they just up and disappear? Did some alien ship come down to remove them? Did they ever even exist?
Well....this week, over in the region of Brandenburg, Germany....they got to this odd position. They are missing 18,000 migrants.
RBB, the regional public network, did a fair job in telling this story.
What seems to have happened is that as 2015 and the full-scale arrival of hundreds of thousand of refugees occurred.....a fair sum of the group were shipped off to the region of Brandenburg. At the time, some bare essentials were put into the computer system....identified as immigrants....and coded in some way as being Brandenburg-assets.
For those who aren't aware.....Germany kinda tracks all of it's people. There's a law. You move from house X to house W.....across town, or 20 miles away.....you go and register at the local town-hall. They note your address, and things proceed.
Around a decade ago, they finally went and did a major scrub of their nation-wide database....to dump out duplicate people who never noted their most current address. They actually threw out a million people in the official listing of Germany at the time.
For these Brandenburg data folks, they just kept looking at the listing they had and these 18,000 folks who weren't showing up. This has now gone to the public-prosecutors office and they are trying to determine what has happened here.
The general belief? As article states near the end....there is a belief that as folks arrived in Brandenburg....they simply used this as a brief moment to rest, and moved on. Some might have eventually returned to their country of origin. Some may have gone to some other European country.
The problem is that someone needs to take authority and go name-by-name....removing the 18,000 from the listing. My guess is that no one is raising their hand because it means you have to go and review each record. They won't exist anymore....once you do this.
For the Syrians, or North Africans? They don't get it. Germany runs a tight ship and they want to account for every single person. If you went to some village in the middle of Bavaria and asked the mayor how many people reside in the village....he'd pull up the official listing and tell you the precise number. Unless someone died overnight.....his number would be 100-percent correct. So, when he says 4,658....it's precisely that number. For a non-German, it's hard to convey the necessity or dynamics to this precise German-method of running things.
Because of the dog-tax situation in Germany.....you can be fairly sure of the number of dogs in each village or town as well.
So I return to the 18,000 missing folks. It bothers the Germans that 18,000 aren't around or existing. They want to have closure.....some answer as to the whereabouts of the 18,000. They aren't used to having mysteries like this existing.
Eventually, some political figure will just appear one day and take full responsibility, and just start hitting the 'delete-button'. Over eight hours.....he will wipe out 18,000 names. Some opposition political group will get all upset and angry.....you just can't delete people from the national database. But at the end of eight hours....they will be wiped out and just be non-existent. The guy ought to get a medal or maybe get nominated as Chancellor for just taking a decisive decision.
But here's the bigger question. Is this just a Brandenburg only problem? Could there be 300,000 migrant/immigrants missing from across all of Germany? You just don't know.