German government to toughen migrant family reunion rules

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Germany's governing parties have agreed to toughen rules on family reunions for some asylum-seekers, ruling out such reunions for former extremists who have given up their beliefs.

The Cabinet last week approved legislation allowing up to 1,000 people per month granted protection short of asylum to apply for relatives to join them. Family reunions for people with that status, including many Syrians, were suspended over two years ago.

The legislation bars reunions for migrants who have committed serious crimes or are deemed to pose a risk of extremist violence. But it foresaw an exception for people who can convincingly prove they have given up their extremist beliefs, drawing criticism from within Chancellor Angela Merkel's conservative bloc.

Merkel's bloc said Thursday the governing coalition has agreed to drop the exemption.