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efms Migration Report

June 1996

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Repatriation of Bosnian refugees to begin October 1

Federal Interior Minister Kanther makes a formal announcement of the decision of the Interior Minister Conference regarding forced repatriation of Bosnian refugees living in Germany. The date which had been set for beginning repatriation, July 1, 1966, has been abandoned. Repatriation is to begin in October of this year at the earliest. Bayern"s Interior Minister Beckstein concurs with Kanther"s recommendation. The interior minister of Nordrhein-Westfalen, Kniola (SPD) considers October to be an unrealistic date for beginning deportations since it is impossible to carry them out during the winter. He proposes instead April 1, 1997. The German government is negotiating with the Bosnian government about a repatriation agreement. Bosnia has requested in return for signing such an agreement financial aid and a say in the selection of repatriated refugees. Bonn rejects the latter condition inasmuch as it involves ethnic criteria.
FAZ 7.6.96 // FAZ 10.6.96 // SZ 13.6.96

Efforts to stiffen alien law postponed

The attempt by the coalition government to pass tougher measures against alien offenders before the summer break has been frustrated. The proposals, which would make it easier to deport aliens convicted of criminal offence, were prompted by riots involving Kurdish activists. The measures, however, are widely criticized by opposition parties and commissioners for foreigners, as they would make it possible to expel persons born in Germany, in particular youths. Aside from the harsh measures, however, the coalition proposal also provides certain improvements for foreigners. Foreign wives would more easily acquire independent right of residence and foreigners receiving German retirement benefits would be able to enter Germany at any time. The bill on expedited deportation is being fiercely debated in the Bundestag. Discussions will continue in the fall before the bill comes to a vote.
SZ 11.6.96 // SZ 12.6.96 // FAZ 13.6.96 // FR 22.6.96

Discussion of Jewish immigration from Eastern Europe

In 1990 Chancelor Kohl and the chairman of the Central Committee of Jews in Germany at the time, established a quota regulation for Russian Jews. This was a humanitarian pact to allow sanctuary to Jewish immigrants from the Soviet Union facing persecution. This provision has now become the subject of political debate. The Foreign Office has doubts about the justification for maintaining the provision, especially in view of frequent abuse, such as submitting forged documents to achieve immigration for economic reasons. The federal government favors stricter controls and closer scrutiny of petitions submitted by Jewish immigrants. Following his visit to the Ukraine, Minister of Development Spranger (CSU) reports large numbers of Jews wishing to emigrate. This statement triggers a dispute with the Central Committee of Jews in Germany. The Committee Chairman Bubis and the Green Party suspect that the numbers quoted by Spranger are part of a campaign to arouse panic and agitate against Jewish immigrants. Since 1990, 45,000 Jews have entered Germany under the quota provision.
Spiegel 27.5.96 // taz 12.6.96 // Spiegel 17.6.96 // Welt 17.6.96 // FR 19.6.96

Proposal to reform citizenship law by young CDU members

A call for reform of the citizenship law has been penned by three young CDU members. 150 CDU politicians have signed the statement which demands that children of foreign parents legally and permanently residing in Germany should receive German citizenship at birth. If the children have two citizenships, they must choose between them upon coming of age. Furthermore, foreigners would acquire the right to be nationalized after a 10-year residence. The proposal, while supported by the FDP, SPD and the Green Party, has met with strong disapproval among CDU/CSU members.
FAZ 20.6.96 // taz 20.6.96

Minorities demand anti-discrimination law

Four minority groups - the Central Committee of the Sinti and Roma, the umbrella organization of the Danish minority, the Union of Lausitz Sorbs and the Friesen League - have called for revising press and administration laws to prohibit discrimination against minorities. In this way the press and authorities would be obliged to refrain from discriminatory and stigmatizing references to the ethnic identities of accused offenders in reports on crime. The minorities" demand will be discussed at the next conference of Länder governments on media policies.
dpa 25.6.96

Hamburg Green party presents anti-discrimination bill

The Green Party of Hamburg has demanded that Germany adapt to EU standards in regard to the prohibiting discrimination of minorities. With the proposed bill "against everyday racism" the Green Party aims to help foreigners who encounter discrimination when seeking work or housing, visiting discotheques or taking out insurance policies.
SZ 11.6.96

Bayern: More naturalizations

According to the State Bureau of Statistics German citizenship was granted to 40,200 persons in Bayern last year, which is 7,300 more than in 1994. The majority of those naturalized were ethnic Germans from Eastern Europe.
SZ 13.6.96

Statistics: Embassies reject 10% of visa petitions

As reported by the foreign office, German embassies last year refused visas to 260,000 applicants. As a result of increased visa abuse, the most frequently cited reason for rejecting petitions is that there is doubt as to the true purpose of the visit, and suspicion that the visitor will not leave Germany when his visa expires.
dpa 26.6.96

Statistics: Illegal border-crossers seized at Germany"s eastern borders

According to the Federal Border Authority, 6,840 persons were apprehended as they tried to cross German"s eastern borders illegally in the first five months of this year. In the previous year a total of 20,713 persons had been caught. That immigrant trafficking has become more devious is seen as a "logical result of increasingly professional border security".
dpa 25.6.96

Aussiedler statistics

The Federal Ministry of the Interior reports that both the number of ethnic German immigrants from Eastern Europe actually entering Germany as well as the number of petitions made in the country of origin have distinctly declined in the first half-year of 1996 as compared with the previous year. In the first six months of 1996, 83,708 Aussiedler entered Germany. In the same period of 1995 there were 94,361. There were 95,988 new petitions in the same period in 1996 (117,251 in 1995). Petitioners come mainly from the former Soviet Union (93,537) but also from Poland (747) and Romania (1,329). The Commissioner for Aussiedler, Waffenschmidt (CDU), interprets the decline in petitions as a sign that ethnic Germans have confidence in the acceptance procedure and do not fear a change in orientation of German politicians, in spite of the "debate on Aussiedler" of the last months.
FAZ 2.7.96

Asylum statistics

The number of petitions for asylum in June 1996 was 8,234, the lowest number in seven years, and 1,100 fewer than in the previous month. UNHCR Commissioner for Refugees Kumin views the clear statistical decline as the result of the restrictive measures in the German asylum law, and by no means as an indication that there are fewer reasons for fleeing native countries. Most refugees continue to come from Turkey (1,842), Rump-Yugoslavia (1,163) Irak (712), Afghanistan (341) and Sri Lanka (336).
BAFl Press Announcement 4.7.96 // SZ 5.7.96

June 1996

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