Can Germany Handle 1 Million Asylum Seekers?

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A refugee sits while waiting in line in Berlin.
From and

Click on the audio player above to hear the full interview.

Germany has received almost 1.1 million asylum applications in 2015, and the sheer number has overwhelmed the country's bureaucracy. Especially in Berlin, people seeking protection have waited months, sometimes in inclement weather, to file their claim. 

Even for those who have registered as refugees, there are still complex systems to navigate.

Jamal Desouki is a father and a refugee from Syria, and was beside himself with frustration after being told he waited for hours at the wrong office

"I have done everything I can from beginning to end to get my children into school, so they are not sitting at home, so they can learn the language," he told Takeaway producer Thalia Beaty. "If the state isn’t helping me, who will? Who can I appeal to?”

It is a good question, and one occupying leaders across Europe. Germany is pushing for quotas that would require EU members to accept a certain number of asylum seekers. So far, an initial agreement in September to relocate 160,000 refugees from Italy and Greece to other European countries has barely gotten off the ground, with only 190 refugees having traveled so far.

William Lacy Swing is the director general of the International Organization for Migration. He has called for more efficient legal paths for asylum seekers to arrive in Europe, so they can avoid the deadly Mediterranean crossing and have their applications processed more effectively.