efms Migration Report
Federal government presents draft of citizenship-law reform
Federal Interior Minister Otto Schily presents plans for reform of the citizenship law in Bonn. The most important changes are that children born in Germany will receive citizenship if one of the parents has been born in Germany. Eight-year residence in Germany will entitle an applicant to German citizenship if the person can make himself understood in German, does not draw welfare or unemployment benefits, has not committed criminal offences and if he declares in writing his belief in the principles of the constitution. Young foreigners will be entitled to naturalization after five-year residence, foreign spouses after three years, which would mean a reduction of previous waiting-periods. A foreigner entitled to naturalization may retain his old citizenship. In case of naturalization granted by the authorities" discretion, a foreigner will improve his chances if he opts for a German passport, and relinquishes his old one.
CDU/CSU resist reform with petition initiative
Both Union parties oppose dual citizenship because they feel it hampers integration. For this reason they are soliciting signatures for a petition in order to demonstrate that a majority of the population is against the reform measure. The new CSU chairman, Edmund Stoiber, warns that the law reform would lead to several hundred thousand family members coming to Germany, bringing with them a "massive potential for violence". The chairman of the CDU, Wolfgang Schäuble, proposes that dual citizenship be established for children, who would have to choose one citizenship upon coming of age. The petition initiative will begin nationwide on January 27. The Union parties reject charges of hostitlity towards foreigners and stress the positive responses of the public.
Focus 5.1.99 // dpa 7.1.99 // Welt 11.1.99 // SZ 11.1.99 // SZ 14.1.99 // Welt 19.1.99
Nation-wide criticism of CDU/CSU petition initiative
Several foreigners pressure groups warn of the consequences of the CDU/CSU petition against dual citizenship. Turkish associations accuse the CDU/CSU of inflammatory agitation and "intellectual arson". The Foreigners Advisory Board (Bundesausländerbeirat) refers to a "malicious defamation of law-abiding foreign citizens in Germany" and declares that it is not dual citizenship which jeopardizes internal security, "but rather the attempt to arouse negative emotions." All over the country representatives of parties, welfare groups, labor unions and immigrant groups condemn the petition and warn about the ill effects of stirring up feelings against foreigners.
FR 6.1.99 // FR 22.1.99
FDP draft bill for regulating dual citizenship
The FDP presents a compromise proposal for introducing dual citizenship. All children born in Germany would receive a German passport. At the age of 18 they would have to choose between the German passport and that of their parents. With this proposal the FDP wants to prevent dual citizenship from becoming the rule. In the previous government coalition the FDP"s "Option Model" was rejected by the CDU/CSU.
dpa 17.1.99 // FAZ 19.1.99
For now no right for non-EU foreigners to vote in local-government elections
Because of the heated controversy surrounding the new citizenship bill, the federal government does not intend for the moment to give non-EU foreigners the right to vote in local-government elections. Members of the Green party have talked about waiting until next year. In the coalition accord of October 1998, the SPD and the Greens had included the goal of voting rights for aliens in local elections.
Islamic association: 4,500 teachers needed for religious instruction
According to Muhammad Salim Abdullah, the director of the Central Islam Archive Institute of Germany, 4,500 teachers would be needed to introduce religious instruction in public schools. The government, he said, should set up professorships for Islamic religious instruction at German universities, appoint a school-book commission, and increase the dialogue with the Islamic community. While admitting that the Islamic community lacks a representative to take part in discussion, Abdullah points out that there are several elected committees who will have to join forces in a commission to formulate joint concepts which could be accepted by all Islamic associations. The state government of Baden Württemberg rejects Islamic religious instruction in schools for the near future due to the lack of teachers, syllabuses and dependable Islamic interlocutors.
Welt 16.1.99 // SZ 21.1.99
Permanent residence permit for survivors of the Lübeck fire disaster
Three years after the fire in a Lübeck foreigners apartment house which took the lives of ten persons, the 34 survivors have been awarded a permanent right to stay in Germany on humanitarian grounds. Those concerned are primarily rejected asylum seekers from Lebanon and several African states.
Negative migration balance
According to figures of the Federal Office of Statistics in Wiesbaden, from January to the end of July 1998 there were approximately 35,000 more foreigners departing from Germany than entering. The total number of 364,000 departures within this time takes into account all foreigners registered in Germany. The decline is mainly due to the continued return of Bosnians to their native country. On the other hand, there were 44,000 more Germans immigrating to the country than emigrating. This number includes the Aussiedler (ethnic German immigrants).