Meseberg, Germany: German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Tuesday firmly rejected US President Donald Trump's assertion that immigration is fueling a rise in crime in Germany, citing official national data.
"My response is that the interior minister recently presented statistics on crime and they speak for themselves," she said during a press conference after talks with French President Emmanuel Macron.
Trump on Monday claimed that "crime in Germany is way up. Big mistake made all over Europe in allowing millions of people in who have so strongly and violently changed their culture!"
Germany let in more than a million asylum seekers since 2015, but official data for 2017 released last month show that the country's crime rate is at its lowest since 1992.
Despite the official data, Trump doubled down on his claim on Tuesday, and even sought to cast doubt on statistics published by Germany.
"Crime in Germany is up 10 per cent plus (officials do not want to report these crimes) since migrants were accepted," Trump said in his latest tweet.
Trump's comments have poured fuel on the fire as hardliners in Merkel's conservative bloc have given her an ultimatum to tighten asylum rules or risk a political crisis that would rattle Europe.
The US president himself faces intensifying pressure to end the forcible separation of refugees families under his "zero tolerance" policy, which requires the arrest and prosecution of anyone who crosses the US border illegally.