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efms Migration Report

December 1999

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Kosovo refugees not entitled to asylum

The High Administrative Court of Rheinland-Pfalz in Koblenz rules that refugees from Kosovo are not entitled to asylum because they are not now threatened with political persecution, nor will they be in the foreseeable future; this means that deportations are possible. According to a UN report, the damage to houses in Kosovo is greater than expected. Bavaria"s Interior Minister Günther Beckstein (CSU) accuses the federal government of not allocating sufficient funds to encourage the voluntary repatriation of Kosovo refugees in the coming year. The result is that the refugees, who live mainly as rejected asylum seekers in Germany, have no incentive to return to their country. Beckstein states that this forces the Länder to deport refugees. Of the 15,000 refugees who came to Germany during the war, 11,000 have voluntarily returned to Kosovo.
SZ 1.12.99 // FR 2.12.99 // FR 8.12.99 // Welt 20.12.99

Presentation of Migration Report 1999

In Berlin the Federal Commissioner for Foreigners, Marieluise Beck (Alliance 90/The Greens), presents for the first time a migration report prepared by the european forum for migration studies at the University of Bamberg. Beginning in the coming year, the Bundestag plans to present regular migration reports. Beck hopes that this will contribute to making the discussion of immigration more objective. According to the report, in the nineties 8.8 million people moved to Germany and 5.8 million left Germany. The main immigrant groups were Aussiedler (ethnic German immigrants), asylum seekers and civil-war refugees from former Yugoslavia. Two-thirds of the migration cases take place within Europe. A large percentage of the immigrants are young or middle-aged (18-40); in 1997, 77.2% of the immigrants were under 40, whereas only 3% were over 65. In the last two years more foreigners have moved away from than to the country.
FAZ 18.12.99 // Tagesspiegel 18.12.99 // taz 18.12.99

Integration Proposals

Various groups bring forward proposals concerning the integration of migrants in Germany. The suggestions focus especially on increasing programs in the area of education. Cem Özdemir, the spokesman on internal affairs for Alliance 90/The Greens, points out that not enough language courses are offered. In the future education planning should take into account curricula, teaching staff, the varying level of the immigrants" education, which ranges from illiterate to professionally trained, as well as the inclusion of family members. Özdemir proposes, in addition to language courses, a basic course on "German society". He supports the proposal of the Commissioner for Foreigners in Berlin, Barbara John (CDU), to offer a work permit as an incentive to learning the language. "Society 2000", a committee appointed by the government of Baden-Württemberg to deal with problems of the future, supports Islamic instruction as long as Islamic groups are not solely responsible for the training of the religious teachers. A course model for instruction in Islam will be presented in the coming spring. The Bavarian Ministers for Social Affairs and for the Interior, Barbara Stamm and Günther Beckstein (CSU) introduce the report "Integration of Foreigners in Bavaria". It stresses the importance of a further development of Islamic instruction. Furthermore, the performance of foreign students should be improved by increasing the cooperation of parents and by offering dayhomes for schoolchildren in the afternoon.
Welt 3.12.99 // FAZ 7.12.99 // taz 8.12.99 // BMI-Bayern Press Announcement

Motion on asylum law at SPD party convention

In the context of the asylum-law debate, the SPD party convention passed a motion calling on the federal government to alter the "unsatisfactory way in which asylum applications are dealt with" and to support a European immigration law. Specifically, the resolution calls for expanding the backlog settlement, abolishing the airport procedure, ratifying the UN Convention on the Rights of Children and harmonizing the asylum law with the Geneva Refugee Convention. The 12-point list is welcomed by Caritas and other welfare organizations. The SPD spokesman on internal affairs, Dieter Wiefelspütz, points out that "the coalition government is not able to satisfy all the far-reaching requests of the delegates."
FR 10.12.99 // SZ 10.12.99 // Welt 11.12.99 // SZ 14.12.99

Federal states interpret backlog solution in different ways

The backlog regulation agreed on by the IMK (interior minister conference) on November 19 is being interpreted in different ways. In Bavaria, leave to remain will be granted to families only if the entire family entered Germany and lived together before the effective date. If a family member has been convicted of an offence the family will not qualify for this solution. Moreover, only those refugees will be granted leave to remain who have valid passports and who, on the day of the IMK resolution, had an adequately paid job. Rheinland-Pfalz, on the other hand, considers allowing substitute passports, and Niedersachsen is moving towards allowing refugees leave to remain as long as they have a prospect for an adequately paid full-time job, even if at the time of the IMK resolution they were only working part time. Pro Asyl accuses the interior ministers of resolving the backlog problem in a way that reduces the number of those who could benefit to nearly zero. The Greens call for interpreting the regulations as generously as possible.
FR 9.12.99 // dpa 9.12.99 // FAZ 22.12.99 // NN 24.12.99

Deportation of foreign prisoners

Federal Minister of Justice Herta Däubler-Gmelin takes up the CDU/CSU proposal to send foreign prisoners to their native countries to serve their sentences. This measure could counteract the overcrowding of German prisons. At present, 25% of the 56,000 prisoners in Germany are foreigners. According to the European Council Agreement of 1983, prisoners can only be deported if they consent. An additional clause of 1997 which allowed deportation against the prisoner"s will was ratified only by Macedonia. Germany"s ratification is being prepared: the prerequisite is that the execution of the sentence in the target land is carried out according to the rule of law. This is not guaranteed, for example, in Turkey, where there have been human rights" violations in the prisons. Another condition is that the sentence will actually be served in the target country; this cannot be guaranteed in some eastern European countries. Only very few countries are willing to assume the cost of imprisonment for those who have committed crimes abroad. Moreover, the majority of foreigners in German prisoners are youths who were born in Germany and would thus be deported to an "unknown country".
SZ 29.12.99 // Welt 29.12.99 // FR 30.12.99

Director of the Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees transferred

The director of the Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees (BAFl), Hans-Georg Dusch, has unexpectedly been transferred from Nuremberg to Berlin where he will be responsible for monitoring the harmonization of German residence laws with judgements of the European Court. The motives for Dusch"s transfer are still not clear. For the moment, vice-president Wolfgang Weickhardt is managing the BAFl.
FR 9.12.99 // NN 9.12.99 // SZ 10.12.99 // NZ 17.12.99

Aussiedler statistics

In December 1999, 16,771 Aussiedler were registered. A total of 104,916 persons were admitted to Germany as Aussiedler in 1999. In 1998 the number was 103,080. This confirms the trend, that around 100,000 persons are admitted each year.Approximately 50,000 Aussiedler came from Casachstan and about 40,000 from Russia.
FR 31.12.99 // BMI Press Announcement 3.1.00

Asylum statistics

In December, 7,092 persons were registered as asylum seekers compared to 7,467 persons in the previous month (-5.1%). In comparison to December 1998, 1,246 fewer persons (-14.9%) registered. The number of persons recognized as entitled to asylum was 290 (2.0%). In 1999 a total of 95,113 persons applied for political asylum; a slight decrease of 3,531 (3.6%) in comparison to the previous year. As in 1998 more than one-third of the asylum seekers in 1999 were from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. The number of asylum seekers from the Russian Federation rose sharply; in comparison, the numbers of asylum seekers from Turkey and Vietnam have decreased. Of all political asylum seekers in Europe 28% sought political asylum in Germany in 1999, whereas in 1996, 42% favored Germany. The rate of approval in completed cases for the year 1999 was 3.0% (4,114 persons).
BMI Press Announcement 14.1.00

December 1999

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