efms Migration Report
Kanther: harsher measures against illegal immigration
Federal interior minister Manfred Kanther has declared 1998 a "security year" and set forth a nine-point list of measures designed to improve internal security. These measures are intended to more forcefully combat illegal immigration. To this aim, very modern nation-wide legislative measures against illegal immigration to Germany would have to be taken. Kanther"s plans include expanding the central register of foreigners, giving the border patrol more authority, and stiffening social-security regulations. An administrative agreement between the federal border police and the state police would allow officials to proceed more effectively against immigrant smugglers and slave dealers.
Federal bureau tests linguistic analysis to determine native countries of asylum seekers
The Federal Bureau for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees has been testing the effectivity of a procedure which analyzes speech and texts in order to determine the country of origin of asylum seekers. Tapes and trial discussions with refugees are evaluated by linguists in Switzerland and Sweden. Should the test yield positive results, the bureau intends to employ German linguists in place of the foreign experts. The use of linguistic analysis does not, according to the bureau, require a legal amendment. In preliminary testing in July 1997, the Swiss and Swedish experts had been able to determine the country of origin in 90% of the cases. Most of the data given by the asylum seekers had been false.
NZ 2.1.98 // SZ 4.1.98
CSU demands stiffening of alien law
The CSU Bundestag group in Bonn has passed a policy paper which calls for taking measures against "undesirable immigration" of foreigners to Germany. The Bundestag representatives do not rule out a new amendment to the Basic Law. They reiterated their view that Germany was not a country of immigration and did not need immigration laws. The CSU demands that civil-war refugees be returned to their countries of origin and that illegal immigration be combatted more intensely. Foreigners convicted of offences and sentenced to three years imprisonment should be deported. The reunion of spouses would be linked to residence status. The CSU wishes to admit foreign children wishing to join their parents and ethnic-German immigrants only if they have adequate German language skills. Moreover, the CSU demands a unified asylum law for all of Europe.
Focus 5.1.98 // FAZ 7.1.98 // NZ 9.1.98
Frankfurt launches campaign to inform the public about naturalization
The city of Frankfurt has begun a campaign to promote the naturalization of aliens. By means of posters and brochures with the motto "Frankfurt for naturalization" the city wishes to draw the attention, particularly of young aliens, to sources of information and counseling. A city spokeswoman said that many young foreigners who had been born and raised in Frankfurt did not realize that they fulfilled the requirements for naturalization. The campaign is meant to be a signal to foreigners that society accepts them with "open arms".
dpa 12.1.98 // FR 14.1.98
Kanther has commissioned feasibility study for "asylum card"
Federal Minister of the Interior, Manfred Kanther has commissioned a feasibility study regarding the introduction of as "asylum card" which, according to interior ministry information, would have eight functions. The plastic card would be a combination of identity card, house key, electronic purse, insurance card and documentation of asylum-procedure status. Like a control clock, the card would also record when the card holder leaves his living quarters, appointments with doctors or authorities and how much money he spends.
Beckstein and Schlee urge rapid return of Bosnian refugees
At a meeting of Bayern Interior Minister Günter Beckstein and the Federal Government Commissioner for Refugees, Dietmar Schlee, the two officials reasserted their goal of returning the large majority of the approximately 240,000 Bosnian refugees living in Germany to their native countries by the end of the year. The financial situation in Bosnia, they stated, was much improved and there was nothing to prevent refugees from returning to areas where they constitute a minority. The officials emphasized, however, that a return to the Republika Srpska in Serbian-held Bosnia-Herzegovina from which 170,000 refugees living in Germany had fled, would have to be accompanied by a reconstruction program. In this context Schlee criticized EU bureaucratic obstacles which made it difficult to obtain assistance funds.
NN 20.1.98 // NZ 20.1.98 // SZ 20.1.98 // FAZ 20.1.98 // taz 20.1.98 // FAZ 29.1.98 // SZ 29.1.98
Citizenship law generates uneasiness in government coalition
Several FDP Bundestag members stated that in a new Bundestag vote on citizenship reform the would no longer vote against their personal convictions and would support the Bundesrat reform proposal. Their announcement provoked considerable agitation in the coalition parties as its members fear the coalition could lose its majority. The Bundestag FDP leadership has been attempting to prevent nonconformist behavior which could jeopardize the coalition. CSU Bundestag members have threatened to terminate the coalition if FDP members do not adhere to the coalition line. The Bundesrat reform bill will be reviewed again in the Bundestag in March because a majority of the domestic committee wishes to renew debate on citizenship law. The FDP Bundestag members voted against the reform proposal in the domestic committee but they abstained from voting on the question of placing the proposal on the agenda. In this way members of the SPD, Alliance 90/the Green Party and the PDS were able to outvote the CDU/CSU representatives.
Welt 10.1.98 // SZ 14.1.98 // Welt 14.1.98 // FR 15.1.98 // dpa 15.1.98 // dpa 20.1.98 // dpa 21.1.98 // FR 23.1.98 // dpa 25.1.98 // FAZ 26.1.98 // FR 26.1.98 // SZ 27.1.98
SPD and IG Bau against illegal employment in construction sector
The SPD and the IG Bau (a labor union of construction, agrarian and environmental employees) has set forth a plan of action to combat illegal employment at German construction sites. The aim is to prevent foreign workers from being able to work for dumping wages at German construction sites because foreign subcontractors are not required to make payments towards social-security benefits. The SPD wants to increase fines for illegal employment to up to one million marks. At the same time, they hope to reach an agreement with other EU countries which would ensure that sub-contractors would pay fines and social-security contributions. In 1997 60,000 construction workers from EU countries were registered at the social insurance agency of the construction industry. Their actual numbers, however, are estimated at about 200,000.
Kurdish refugeees trigger fierce debate on European refugee policies
The Kurdish refugees who entered Italy at the end of December and the beginning of January have led to a controversy about the formulation of European refugee policies. Representatives of the federal government and the CDU/CSU fear that the refugees will make their way to Germany. For this reason they have called for more stringent border controls by the Italians. Federal minister of the interior, Manfred Kanther, has taken steps to tighten German border controls. The Italian government was irritated by German criticism. The Italian minister of the interior, Giorgio Napolitano countered that Germany had become a "gigantic magnet" as a result of its immigration policies in the 1960"s and 1970"s and because of the Kurds already residing in Germany. Federal Chancellor Helmut Kohl and the Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi agreed finally on a joint solution to the refugee question. Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel and representatives of the opposition parties warned against exaggerating the problems caused by Kurdish refugees and pointed out that the number of Kurdish asylum seekers in Germany had not increased. Both sides in the conflict confirmed that they intend to adhere to the Schengen system despite the current problems. Some officials were in favor of revising European refugee policy in order to more effectively coordinate the distribution of burden between the individual countries. At a meeting in Brussels the EU foreign ministers agreed on a joint plan of action which would provide for stricter controls at the borders and harsher measures against immigrant smuggler gangs in order to check the flow of refugees from northern Iraq.
SZ 30.12.1997 // taz 5.1.98 // SZ 5.1.98 // dpa 7.1.98 // FR 8.1.98 // dpa 8.1.98 // SZ 9.1.98 // Welt 8.1.98 // dpa 11.1.98 // Welt 13.1.98 // dpa 14.1.98 // dpa 26.1.98
Saliva test required for family reunion
According to information from the Federal Ministry for Foreign Affairs German authorities have been investigating a saliva test to determine whether persons who have applied for family reunion are actually related to the claimed family and whether asylum seekers are telling the truth about their relationships to recognized refugees. A ministry speaker said that the test developed at the University of Münster was able to ascertain family relations with 99% accuracy.
AP 23.1.98 // NZZ 24.1.98
Verfassungsschutz: xenophobic violence on the rise
According to the Verfassungsschutz (Office for the Protection of the Constitution), there were 373 cases of violence against foreigners between January and November of 1997. In comparison to the same period of the previous year this is an increase of seven percent.
Statistics on foreigners: 7.37 million foreigners living in Germany
According to information of the Federal Interior Ministry, 7.37 million foreigners were living in Germany on December 31, 1997. Nine percent of the total German population is foreign. Every fourth foreigner living in Germany comes from an EU country. The largest group of foreigners were the Turks with 2.11 million persons. The second largest group is made up of citizens from rump Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro) with 721,000 members. The third largest group of aliens are the Italians with 608,000.
According to Federal Interior Ministry information 10,112 Aussiedler (ethnic German immigrants) came to Germany in January 1996. In January 1997 the number was 14,924. The majority (9,977) of the immigrants were from the former Soviet Union. The number of petitions for admission also declined from 13,289 in January 1997 to 9,461 in January 1998.
8,373 persons applied for asylum in January according to data released by the Federal Ministry of the Interior. In the previous month 7,750 asylum seekers had come to Germany. In comparison to January 1997 the number of petitions for asylum decreased by 23%. Most of the asylum seekers came from the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (1,690), from Turkey (1,214) and from Irak (886).