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efms Migration Report

July 1998

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Germany takes over presidency of Schengen group

Beginning in July, Germany will be the president of the Schengen Countries association for one year. On this occasion Federal Interior Minister Kanther spoke out in favor of creating a "European security zone" of the EU countries, whose primary goal would be safeguarding the mutual external borders against criminality, illegal immigration and trafficking in persons.
Welt 2.7.98 // FR 2.7.98 // SZ 2.7.98 // FAZ 2.7.98

Deportations of Kosovar Albanians

Although there is not a general ban on deporting refugees to the Serbian crisis-ridden province of Kosovo, Michael Ziegler, a spokesman for the Bavarian interior ministry, has stated that the authorities are exercising restraint for the moment. Only criminal Kosovar Albanians must expect to be deported. There were vehement protests by refugee organizations and the Greens when Nordrhein-Westfalen and Niedersachsen deported 93 Serbs and Kosovar Albanians by plane to Belgrad. A majority of those deported were criminal offenders. The Greens view the deportation as posing a grave threat to those concerned, especially the Kosovar Albanians.
Welt 3.7.98 // FR 30.7.98

Registry offices to search for bogus marriages

On July 1 a law on marriage rights comes into force which obliges marriage license officials to refuse to conduct weddings in cases where the couple obviously does not intend to establish a marital partnership. Along with the alien authorities, the registry offices will also be scrutinizing the weddings of binational couples to determine if there are any signs of bogus marriage intentions.
taz 3.7.98

Federal government wishes to attract more students from abroad

According to the minister of education, Rüttgers (CDU), many countries are competing to bring foreign students, in particular Asian students, to study at local universities. Foreign students are increasingly seen as a lucrative source of revenues. Australia, for example, aims to to earn three billion dollars in the year 2000. The percentage of foreign students at German universities has stagnated at five percent in recent years. According to the education minister, German universities must acquire more professional marketing abilities and develop internationally recognized examinations and diplomas. The Goethe institutes and German embassies in foreign countries, moreover, are to make propaganda for German universities among potential foreign students and conduct language exams required for studying in Germany. The embassies will have to ensure that foreign students wishing to enter Germany will not encounter any obstacles.
SZ 4.7.98

Turkish media campaign against German politicians

The main Turkish daily newspapers have made massive attacks on the leadership of the CDU/CSU because of their policies concerning aliens. On the basis of the chancellor"s office"s statements on aliens policies, deportations and statements by Union politicians regarding the integration of aliens, the newspapers Hürriyet, Milliyet and Türkiye accuse the chancellor, the Bavarian state government and especially the CDU minister, Schönbohm, in Berlin of hostility towards foreigners. The newspapers call on the Turks living in Germany to acquire German citizenship in large numbers in order to exert an influence on German politics.
Welt 4.7.98

CSU makes "containment of immigration" a campaign topic

At their convention at the monastery of Banz, the CSU demanded further harsh policies on aliens. In a paper entitled "Effective containment of undesirable immigration", the leader of the CSU state group, Michael Glos, made the following points. There should be a more restrictive assignment of low-rent housing to foreigners in order to impede the development of foreign ghettos in German cities; foreigners who wish to reside permanently in Germany should be required to demonstrate a knowledge of German; since the party persists in the belief that Germany is not an immigration country, further immigration is undesirable. The CDU supports the demands of its sister party. Future new EU citizens should not immediately receive work permits when the eastern countries become part of the EU in order to prevent the German labor market from being "flooded". The FDP criticizes the proposed tightened measures as "untimely and provincial"; moreover, such demands encourage extreme right-wing positions. The Greens accuse the Union politicians of rabble-rousing.
FR 9.7.98 // FR 10.7.98 // FAZ 10.7.98 // taz 9.7.98

Bayern: return option for young foreigners should be abolished

By means of a Bundesrat initiative, Bayern intends to abolish the "return option" for alien adolescents. At present, foreigners who have been authorized residents of Germany for eight years, and have attended a school for six years, are entitled to return to Germany at any time up to their 21st birthday. In the opinion of the Bavarian interior minister Beckstein, reintegration in Germany becomes difficult when young people return to their country of origin for education or training. Furthermore, the age limit for children from non-EU countries to join their parents in Germany is to be lowered from 16 to 10. The Bavarians believe that young people who are criminal offenders should be deported along with their parents.
SZ 80.7.98 // SZ 11.7.98

Foreign Ministry to use financial aid to stem the flow of refugees from Kosovo

During his recent visit to a refugee area in northern Albania, Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel distributed assistance money in order to dissuade the population from fleeing to Germany. He urged the Albanians to develop a regional refugee concept. In view of the high number of refugees to Albania, the pressure on Germany has perceptibly mounted. In the past month 2,500 Kosovar Albanians have applied for asylum in Germany. According to the alien authorities, the crisis in Kosovo and the behavior of the Yugoslavian authorities are impeding the voluntary return of refugees toYugoslavia. The number of Kosovar Albanians willing to return to Kosovo however, is low.
SZ 10.7.98 // Welt 10.8.98

Bundesrat ratifies cuts in asylum-seeker benefits law

According to the new version of the social benefits law for asylum seekers, which was passed by the Bundestag and ratified by the Bundesrat, benefits will be reduced for rejected asylum seekers residing in Germany without authorization who have improperly drawn social benefits. This applies also to persons who have prevented their deportation by disguising their true identities. Persons who have toleration status as civil-war refugees are exempted from the new regulation.
SZ 11.7.98 // FR 11.7.98

Berlin: scheme to deport Bosnians

After a surprize night raid by the Berlin police, numerous persons were detained and some 100 Bosnian refugees deported by plane. The administrative court of Berlin, which had not been informed of the plan, was able in some cases to prevent deportation at the last minute. Jörg Schönbohm (CDU), the interior minister of Berlin, who was responsible for the action, referred to it as a "signal to return voluntarily". He dismised criticism of the operation. Several organizations, including churches, Caritas, and the UNHCR, expressed concern about the safety of the returnees.
FR 11.7.98 // taz 11.7.98 // Welt 11.7.98 // FAZ 11.7.98 // FAZ 15.7.98 // FR 15.7.98 // FR 17.7.98

Federal government expects more than 100,000 voluntary returns to Bosnia this year

The Federal Commissioner for Bosnia, Schlee (CDU), expects that once again 100,000 Bosnian war refugees will voluntarily return to their native country. Since the beginning of the year, 53,900 have returned to Bosnia, according to Schlee. 1,056 were deported and 8,445 immigrated to other countries. Of the original 350,000 Bosnian refugees admitted to Germany, a total of 190,000 have departed and 160,000 still remained in Germany. Schlee said that Germany had spent 19 billion marks to date on the refugees and reconstruction in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
FAZ 11.7.98

Baden-Württemberg: Muslim teacher not permitted to teach wearing headscarf

The Bundesland Baden-Württemberg has refused to allow a Muslim woman to be employed in the state service as a teacher, because she insists on wearing a headscarf in the classroom. The woman has successfully completed her first state examination. In the weeks prior to the state"s decision there was a heated discussion on the extent to which an Islamic headscarf is an unacceptable political symbol which obstructs integration. The decision itself triggered a debate of principles concerning how to deal with Islam in German schools and how to promote the integration of Muslim pupils. The Landtag opposed a general ban on headscarves which had been proposed by the Republicans. The central committee of the Muslims in Germany harshly criticized the decision of the School Authorities in Stuttgart, saying it was seriously discriminatory. The German labour union association also believes that the decision violates the principle of equality.
SZ 14.7.98 // taz 14.7.98 // SZ 15.7.98 // FR 15.7.98 // FAZ 16.7.98 // FR 18.7.98

SPD wants new policies on aliens and immigration

The SPD interior-policy specialist, Cornelie Sonntag-Wolgast said that in case of an SPD victory at the federal elections in September, the SPD would improve the legal status of foreign children and young people by establishing the right to German citizenship at birth and facilitating naturalization for the second generation of immigrants. Sonntag-Wolgast stated that the long-term plan would include a comprehensive reform of citizenship law and an immigration law with annual quotas. The chairman of the SPD parliamentary group, Otto Schily, who has been designated as interior minister in the cabinet of an SPD-led government, spoke out in favor of creating an independent commissioner"s office for refugees and immigrants, since these problems could be solved only at the European level. He protested against the accusation made by groups such as the Turkish community in Germany, that SPD policies on aliens were shifting to the right. Schily announced that the SPD would treat criminal foreigners harshly. On the whole, however, the SPD intended to pursue pro-alien policies.
FAZ 16.7.98 // SZ 16.7.98 // FR 16.7.98 // FR 20.7.98 // SZ 21.7.98

Data on asylum seekers to be recorded on electronic "asylum card"

According to a recommendation of an unpublished study commissioned by the federal interior ministry, asylum seekers in the future would receive an "asylum card" on which all the information recorded by various authorities would be assembled. The data would concern such matters as asylum status, origin, address, social benefits received, medical care and fingerprints. In this way it would be possible to lighten the workload of the authorities and take precautions against asylum abuse. The decision to employ the system, which would cost 8.6 million marks, will be made only after thorough examination. Data protectionists have expressed reservations concerning the "all-inclusive compilation" of data in one place. In a Berlin pilot project asylum seekers are receiving chip cards instead of vouchers to purchase food.
Spiegel 20.7.98 // NZ 20.7.98 // Welt 21.7.98 // FR 28.7.98

Deportations by plane becoming more difficult

The Federal Border Guard (BSG) at the Frankfurt airport has complained that deportations of foreigners by plane have become increasingly difficult due to the violent behaviour of those being deported. A growing rate of 20 to 25 % of the deportees, especially criminal offenders, had to be accompanied by BSG officials. In 1997, 16 officials and several aliens were injured during deportation. A total of 11,440 rejected asylum seekers, persons who had illegally entered Germany and criminal offenders were expelled via the Frankfurt airport in 1997. The BGS estimates that the percentage of asylum seekers was about 30 to 40 %.
dpa 21.7.98

Foreign Ministry urges quicker return of illegal residents toVietnam

The undersecretary in the foreign ministry, Werner Hoyer, has complained in Hanoi about the delays in applying the repatriation agreement made three years ago with the Vietnamese government. Only 4,500 of the 20,000 illegal Vietnamese residing in Germany had returned to date, while the number of Vietnamese immigrants was increasing despite the repatriation program. According to unconfirmed reports, departures from Vietnam with destination Germany are being facilitated by corrupt authorities in Hanoi. These "new illegal immigrants", stated Hoyer, would have to leave Germany immediately.
dpa 22.97.98

Turkish ambassador calls for facilitated naturalization

The new ambassador of Turkey in Bonn, Tugay Ulucevik, appealed to the German government to facilitate the naturalization of Turks living in Germany. The presence of some 2.5 million Turks was "an integral part of the historical friendship between both countries". The ambassador said that attempts to solve problems arising from the cohabitation of Turks and Germans would have to take into account that the Turks had settled permanently in Germany.
SZ 25.7.98 // taz 25.7.98

Campaign platform of the Union: limit immigration

The CSU has failed in its endeavors to include the sentence "Germany is not an immigration country" in the joint campaign platform of the Union parties. The Union politicians do, however, speak out against further immigration of foreigners since they, in the view of the Union parties, jeopardize the internal peace of the country. The platform holds out the prospect of easing naturalization requirements, but does not elaborate on the specific modifications. The Union parties are fundamentally opposed to dual citizenship.
SZ 25.7.98

Opinion polls: majority of Germans oppose further immigration

In a study conducted by the Institute of Opinion Research Allensbach in June 1998, 72% of those questioned favored limiting further immigration of aliens to Germany while 14% were against restricting immigration. Hostility to foreigners was ascertained in 24% while 59 % indicated they were not disturbed by foreigners. According to an Infratest-dimap-survey, the present alien and asylum policies of the federal government are seen by 72 % to be too lax; 49 % feel that the Union has greater competence in this area, while 43 % favor SPD policies. An Ipos survey demonstrates that the issue of foreigners ranges third among the population"s concerns, after unemployment and internal security.
Welt 25.7.98

The Greens insist on restoring the old asylum law

The spokesman of the Greens parliamentary group, Kerstin Müller, emphasizes that the Greens intend to work towards reinstating the former basic right to asylum. The Greens intend to make this demand an integral part of coalition negotiations if the SPD and the Greens are victorious in the next election. Müller thus clarified an ambiguous statement made by the spokesman on domestic policies of the Green Party, Rezzo Schlauch who had pointed out that the two-thirds majority required to amend the Basic Law was not feasible in the near future. The Greens" aim is to amend the present asylum law so that it corresponds to the Geneva Convention relating to the Status of Refugees; chain deportations, the airport regulation and the safe third country clause would thus be abolished.
SZ 28.7.98 // FR 28.7.98

SPD on internal security: tough treatment of criminal aliens

The vice-chairman of the SPD parliamentary group has presented a position paper of the SPD on internal security which contains demands for greater presence of police forces, more resolute prosecution of criminals and deportation of criminal aliens, and clamping down on organized crime. The FDP and the Greens accuse the SPD of adopting Union positions on many issues for tactical purposes during the election campaign. The SPD emphasizes, however, that in addtion to repression they advocate more efficient crime prevention.
SZ 28.7.98 // taz 28.7.98

Baden-Württemberg leads in admitting Aussiedler

According to the Federal Commissioner for Aussiedler, Horst Waffenschmidt (CDU), Baden Württemberg leads the German states in admitting and integrating ethnic German immigrants. The state has increased its funding of integration programs from 2.7 million to 5 million marks. Furthermore, the state is contributing one million marks to the construction of a housing development in St.Petersburg for ethnic Germans from former Soviet republics. Whereas in 1994 there were 28,000 Aussiedler in Baden Württemberg, the number dropped to 17,000 in 1997. This year, 5,700 have arrived thus far. A new housing assignment law is helping the authorities to more evenly distribute the Aussiedler throughout Germany.
FAZ 11.7.98

More hostile actions against aliens

According to Federal Criminal Police Office (BKA) intelligence, 650 offences against foreigners were registered in the first four months of this year; 120 persons were injured. In comparison to the same period in the previous year, the number has increased by 26. Most of the offences were perpetrated in Nordrhein-Westfalen and Niedersachsen, but most of the injuries occurred in Berlin and the new federal states.
Welt 15.7.98

Increased professional trafficking in persons at the German eastern borders

The Federal Border Guard (BGS) reports a boom in immigrant smuggling at the German borders to Poland and the Czech Republic. In the first half year of 1998 8,600 persons were arrested as they attempted to enter Germany illegally at these borders. In 1997 the number of arrested persons at these borders was 18,300. In 1997 there were nationwide over 35,000 persons arrested for attempting to enter Germany illegally. At present, 40 percent of illegal immigrants are smuggled over the borders by professionally organized Polish, German and Czech traffickers.
Welt 20.7.98

More people leaving than immigrating to Germany

The Federal Office of Statistics reports that in 1997 for the first time in 12 years, more foreigners departed from Germany than entered the country. In 1996, 708,000 new arrivals were registered and in 1997 there were 615,000 of whom 104,000 were asylum seekers. In the same period, the number of foreigners leaving Germany increased from 559,000 to 637,000. Despite the increase in migration away from Germany, the total number of foreigners rose from 7,314 million (1996) to 7,366 million (1997), a fact that can be attributed to the high birth rate of foreigners residing in Germany.
dpa 30.7.98 // taz 31.7.98

Asylum statistics

The federal interior ministry has announced that 8,484 applications for asylum were submitted in July 1998. In comparison to the previous month, the number increased by 7.9 %. Most applicants are from Yugoslavia (3,002); of these, 87.5 % are from Kosovo. Since May 1998, the number of asylum seekers from Yugoslavia has doubled. The Turkish applicants ranged second (1,076). The ministry further stated, without mentioning any numbers, that far fewer applications have been made in this year than in the same period of the previous year.
SZ 12.8.98

July 1998

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