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efms Migration Report

April 1998

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BND: Turkish authorities involved in immigrant smuggling

In a confidential situation report to the government, the Federal Intelligence Service (BND) accuses the Turkish authorities of tolerating or even assisting immigrant smuggling to Germany. In support of its supposition, the BND refers to the "very efficient security and surveillance system" in Turkey. According to the BND, the numerous migration flows through Turkey, facilitated by immigrant-smuggling organizations, indicated that "the Turkish security system had not made use of all the means at its disposal to prevent such activities." With regard to the Turkish intelligence service, the BND suspects that Turkish officials, particularly those monitoring the borders and harbors, were bribed to assist "extensive immigrant smuggling".
Welt 1.4.98

Kanther and Beckstein call for nation-wide Schleierfahndung

Federal Minister of the Interior Manfred Kanther and the Bavarian Minister of the Interior Günther Beckstein have responded to the discontinuation of border controls between Germany, Austria and Italy as regulated by the Schengen Agreement with a call for the introduction of nation-wide Schleierfahndung (special checks and investigations). This would authorize the police anywhere in the country to conduct checks on individuals even if they are not suspected of committing a particular crime.
SZ 2.4.98

Nordrhein-Westfalen: aliens to be admitted to police pilot project

The interior minister of Nordrhein-Westfalen, Franz-Josef Kniola, plans to increase the number of non-EU aliens in the police forces. At present there are 25 foreigners in police uniform. Kniola would like to include even aliens who do not intend to become German citizens. It is hoped that foreign police officers can improve relations between the police force and the population, especially in those districts where a large percentage of the inhabitants are foreigners. This step was made possible by the inclusion of an exception clause in the 1993 revision of the civil service law of Nordrhein-Westfalen. However, the mandatory language exam is an impediment to employment for most applicants. In 1997 only 25 of a total of 532 foreign applicants were accepted. Kniola would like to replace the language examination with a "culturally fair" test which would evaluate the applicant"s intelligence, powers of perception and logical thinking while attributing less significance to language difficulties. During their training, the future police officials would receive language instruction in order to learn correct and comprehensible German. Kniola feels that multi-cultural guardians of the peace are essential to a multi-cultural society.
Welt 3.4.98

Berlin CDU wants to avoid formation of aliens" ghettos

According to Roland Gewalt, the secretary of the CDU parliamentary group in the Berlin house of representatives, measures are being examined which would prevent the growth of ghettos in the districts Tiergarten, Wedding and Kreuzberg. For this reason officials are considering whether they should limit the numbers of aliens who receive low-rent housing in these areas. Another measure might be to establish quotas for foreigners in schools. Moreover, newly-arrived refugees are to be increasingly settled in other districts. However, Gewalt said that the proposal to prohibit aliens from moving to certain districts has been dismissed.
FAZ 2.4.98 // SZ 8.4.98

Public opinion poll: dual citizenship is controversial

A representative survey of the Emnid-Institut shows that the issue of dual citizenship is highly controversial in the public. 28 percent of those questioned were in favor of unlimited dual citizenship for foreign children born in Germany. 42 percent are for imposing temporal restrictions on dual citizenship, while 25 percent are categorically opposed to it. Most advocates of dual citizenship are to be found among the supporters of the PDS and Alliance 90/Green Party. The most adamant opponents of dual citizenship are those voting for the Republicans and the FDP. Opinions also diverge on the question of whether foreigners living in Germany should generally have the same rights as Germans. 47 percent of the population is in favor of equal rights, and 47 percent are opposed. PDS and Alliance 90/Green Party supporters generally advocate equal rights for Germans and foreigners. Among SPD supporters, there is a small majority for equal rights while a majority of CDU/CSU voters oppose equal rights. A narrow majority of FDP supporters are against foreigners having the same rights as Germans. 64 percent of all those questioned feel that "foreigners enrich our culture". The same number of pollees do not believe that foreigners take jobs away from Germans.
Welt 3.4.98

Federal Office: increase in numbers of asylum seekers travelling to their native countries

According to data released by the Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees, there has been an increase in the number of cases in which asylum seekers, soon after they have been recognized as entitled to asylum in Germany, travel for several weeks or months to their native countries, before returning to Germany. There is a particularly high number of such cases among the asylants from Northern Iraq who entered the country on German refugee passports which were not even recognized there. In the view of the Federal Office, this behaviour contradicts the claim of the asylum-seekers that they had been subject to political persecution. A trip to their native country "clearly demonstrates that they are not being persecuted there." The Federal Office states that in such cases the grounds for asylum would be reconsidered and, if necessary, proceedings would be initiated to revoke asylum status.
BAFl Press Announcement 2.4.98 // dpa 2.4.98 // dpa 7.4.98

Large increase in illegal immigration at German-Czech border

According to data of the secretary of state at the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Kurt Schelter, the border between the Czech Republic and Germany has become a "focal point for immigrant smuggling and illegal entry". Schelter"s data indicate that the number of persons illegally entering Germany at this border in 1997 increased by one third to more than 3,000. The number of immigrants smuggled across the border had doubled in comparison to 1996. However, the number of immigrant smugglers arrested had dropped to 200. "There is a tremendous need for us to take action," said Schelter.
dpa 2.4.98 // SZ 7.4.98 // SZ 8.4.98

Schlee: 15,000 Bosnian refugees have left Germany so far this year

Between 15,000 and 18,000 Bosnian refugees returned home in the first three months of 1998, according to data released by the Federal Commissioner for Bosnian Refugees, Dietmar Schlee. The commissioner stated that this is three times as many returnees as in the same period of 1997. At present only 200,000 refugees from Bosnia-Herzegovina are still living in Germany. Schlee calls for additional assistance projects to create a "return atmosphere". The Permanent Conference of the Interior Ministers (IMK) will deal with the Bosnian refugee issue at their meeting at the beginning of May. The rights to toleration expire at the end of April for the refugees in most Länder.
Welt 8.4.98 // taz 8.4.98

Account fraud and corruption affair of Oberhausen refugee and welfare authorities

For several years the welfare authorities of the town Oberhausen have manipulated information about the number of asylum seekers and civil-war refugees from Bosnia registered in the city. In this way they obtained from the Nordrhein-Westfalen refugee-housing funds a total of seven million marks more than they were actually entitled to in order to finance the housing of the refugees. This is the result of an investigation conducted by the auditor"s office of the regional government in Düsseldorf. According to a ruling of the interior ministry of Nordrhein-Westfalen, the city must repay the money they owe in installments and the head of department responsible for the fraud was suspended from office. She had known of the manipulation since 1996 and had ordered that the fraud be covered up by gradually adjusting the false data so that by the end of 1997 the actual numbers would be represented. The Duisburg state attorney"s office is also investigating twelve employees at the Oberhausen Refugee Office, whose area director has already been arrested. The twelve staff members are accused of cashing in checks made out to refugees.
Welt 14.4.98

Bayern wants to expel juvenile offenders

The Bavarian state government would like to deport juvenile alien offenders and their parents more frequently. To this effect, the Bavarian government is preparing an initiative in the Bundesrat to amend the Aliens Act. Hermann Regensburger, the secretary of state of the Bavarian interior ministry, believes that deportations should be carried out when parents gravely neglect their parental duty of supervision or deliberately incite their children to crime. The Bavarian plans met with sharp criticism from the FDP, SPD and the Green Party. Otto Schily (SPD) called the project "foolish and of dubious constitutionality". At the end of April the district administration officer of Munich, Hans-Peter Uhl (CSU), issued a notice of deportation. A 13-year-old Turkish youth and his parents have been notified that they must leave Germany by July 21 and may not return. The youth has perpetrated 61 offences including assault and battery. Uhl accuses the parents of parental neglect and believes that they have gravely failed to exercise parental control for years.
Welt 21.4.98 // SZ 30.4.98

Germany and Morocco sign agreement on repatriation

Germany and Morocco have signed an agreement on returning Moroccans without a leave of residence to their native country. According to the Federal Interior Ministry, the agreement will come into force on June 1, 1998 and will regulate the repatriation process and the issuing of travel documents for Moroccan citizens without identification papers. Federal Interior Minister Manfred Kanther believes that the agreement will facilitate the repatriation of the 9,700 Moroccans presently in Germany without leave of residence.
dpa 22.4.98

Foreign Ministry stiffens entry regulations for homosexual foreigners

The foreign ministry has issued a directive which makes it more difficult for homosexual aliens to enter Germany. Since September 1997, German embassies and consulates have not been allowed to issue entry papers for homosexuals. Such applications must be sent on to the Foreign Ministry for review. Only after the foreign ministry has issued instructions to do so, may the embassies and consulates issue a visa. The foreign ministry thus contradicts the established practice of several Länder to grant residence permits to homosexual foreigners wishing to live in a homosexual relationship.
taz 24.4.98

Committed mayor assists return of Bosnian refugees

Due to the dedicated efforts of Josef Vosen, chief mayor of Düren, 200 Muslim refugees from Bosnia can return to their homeland this year. For the past three years the social democrat has made the Muslim refugees his concern. In 1995 he travelled to the Bosnian refugees" native city, Modrica, which had been taken over by the Serbs. Despite Vosen"s promises to provide financing and accommodations for the refugees, the Serbs refused to admit them. During another trip, Vosen discovered that the city Gradacac was willing to admit the refugees. Vosen planned to build houses for the refugees and to give them initial fiancial assistance. But neither the German government nor the European Union supported this plan. Vosen persisted, however, and finally obtained the support of the federal foreign minister, Klaus Kinkel and the EU commissioner, Hans van den Broek. Together, they travelled to Bosnia where the Bosnian president, Izetbegovic, gave his approval to the plan to settle the refugees in Gradacac. After this meeting in May 1997 the EU and the federal government granted financial assistance for the project. Vosen acquired suitable land for construction last year, and construction work on the 62 houses for the refugees from Düren was started a few weeks ago. Vosen expects that the refugees will be able to return to Bosnia in late summer. Each of them will be provided with the sum of 2,500 marks initial assistance money.
The Wall Street Journal 22.4.98

BND: Russia is the main transit country for illegal immigrants

According to a report of the Federal Intelligence Service (BND), Russia is the main country of transit for illegal immigrants to Germany and Western Europe. The immigrant smuggler trade, according to the report, has been able to expand unobstructed in Russia, since the state battle against corruption had not yet shown any success. According to BND information, immigrant smuggling has become a "crucial" business area for organized crime. The BND estimates the annual turnover from immigrant smuggling to be over ten billion marks.
NZ 27.4.98

Political parties react to DVU success in Sachsen-Anhalt elections

The parties represented in the Bundestag have exhibited varying reactions to the entrance of the right-wing German People"s Union (DVU) into the newly-elected Landtag of Sachsen Anhalt. The chairman of the CSU parliamentary group in Bonn, Michael Glos announced that his party would urge that the CDU and CSU take up the issues of asylum abuse and alien criminality in their joint election platforms. Glos believes that a "genuine people"s party" should adopt issues which concern the public. Cem Özdemir, on behalf of Alliance 90/Green Party, called for a "chancellor statement" on the subject of aliens policies. Özdemir said that the democratic parties should demonstrate clearly that they will "jointly protect the seven million aliens living in Germany with claws and teeth".
FAZ 29.4.98 // SZ 30.4.98

Criticism of plans to cut benefits for rejected asylum-seekers

At a hearing in the Bundestag committee on health, experts from welfare organizations, churches, migrant groups and the German City Congress uged that the Bundestag reject the bill on reducing benefits for asylum seekers. The main criticism of this bill, which was introduced in the Bundesrat and approved by the federal government cabinet, is that it is senseless to grant toleration to certain aliens who cannot be deported while, on the other hand, giving them assistance below the level of welfare benefits. Welfare organizations criticize furthermore that the planned cuts violate the human dignity of those concerned. The German City Congress criticized that the bill was not practicable.
Welt 28.4.98 // FR 30.4.98 // taz 30.4.98

Asylum statistics

According to information of the Federal Interior Ministry, 6,477 persons applied for asylum in Germany in April. In comparison to the previous month, the number dropped by 10.2 percent. In comparison to April 1997, there were 29.2 percent fewer asylum seekers. The main countries of origin were the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia with 1,606, Turkey with 943 and Irak with 690 applicants. The Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees ruled on 12,352 asylum petitions in April. The recognition rate was 4.4%.
BMI Press Announcement 8.5.98

April 1998

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