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efms Migration Report

May 1998

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FDP continues to advocate dual citizenship

The chairman of the FDP, Wolgang Gerhardt and vicechairman Rainer Brüderle have emphasized that in case of a victory in the coming elections, the liberal party intends to continue its efforts in the next legislative session to achieve approval of dual citizenship. Both politicians stated that foreign children born in Germany should be given the chance to choose either the German or their parents" nationality when they reach the age of 18.
SZ 4.5.98 // SZ 11.5.98

Federal Administrative Court improves protection from deportation for aliens

The Federal Administrative Court has improved protection from deportation for aliens who face lifethreatening dangers if sent back to their native countries. In the view of the judges, the Aliens Law provides "absolute protection" in such cases. Exceptions could only be made if the continued stay of the alien involved a threat to the security of the Federal Republic of Germany".
SZ 6.5.98

German government opens housing development in St.Petersburg

The federal commissioner for Aussiedler (ethnic German immigrants), Horst Waffenschmidt, has opened a German housing development in St. Petersburg. The development model, a German-Russian project, contains 175 living quarters for 1,000 inhabitants and will accommodate German Russians from Kasachstan. The first apartments are to be ready by the end of this year.
SZ 12.5.98

Kinkel and Kanther want to use sanctions to force return

The federal foreign minister, Klaus Kinkel, and the federal interior minister, Manfred Kanther, have threatened countries in Asia and Africa with cuts in development aid if these countries refuse to readmit their own nationals compelled to leave Germany. Some 50,000 to 70,000 aliensobliged to leave Germany encounter difficulties in reentering their native countries.The warning concerns Ghana, Nigeria, Togo, Gambia, Sudan, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and India. The minister of development aid, Carl-Dieter Spranger, criticized the initiative of his fellow cabinet members and rejected the use of development assistance as the sole form of sanctions. The Foreign Office, in Spranger"s opinion, should first of all see to it that international law contracts are adhered to.
dpa 11.5.98 // FR 12.5.98

Authorities bring Kurd deported to Turkey back to Germany

For the first time, German authorities have allowed the reentry of a Kurd to Germany who had been rejected as asylum seeker and deported in January 1998. According to information from the refugee council of Niedersachsen, the Kurd was immediately arrested upon reaching Turkey and mistreated for 8 days for allegedly having contact to the Kurdish Workers Party. The Foreign Ministry and the Federal Interior Ministry, informed of these developments by the refugee council of Niedersachsen, tried to obtain permission for the Kurd to officially leave the country. Since the Turkish authorities refused to grant permission, the Kurd had to flee over the "green border" to Greece, from where he was able to continue his journey to Germany. The Greek authorities had been informed about Germany"s efforts on behalf of the Kurd.
dpa 12.5.98 // SZ 13.5.98 // Welt 13.5.98 // FR 13.5.98

Conference of commissioners for aliens: "irrevocable right of residence" for foreign children born in Germany

The federal, state and community commissioners for aliens met for a joint conference at which they called for an "unalterable right of residence" for foreign children who are born and raised in Germany so that this group should not be subjected to the possibility of deportation. However, the federal commissioner for aliens, Cornelia Schmalz-Jacobsen, admitted that this demand is politically unfeasible at present. She emphasized nevertheless that it was unacceptable for alien youths to be subjected to punishment and then face deportation. Schmalz-Jacobsen deplored the lack of scientific studies on the situation of young foreigners. She suspects that one reason for this is the fact that Germany is still not seen as an "immigration country".
Welt 14.5.98

Government raises visa fees

On the basis of a Schengen resolution to standardize and raise visa fees, the German government has decided to increase the proce for visas. By the end of this legislative session, the price of visas will in some cases be twice as high as before. For example, a 90-day visitor"s visa which is valid for more than a year will cost 100 marks per half-year instead of the 40 marks it costs at present. The Foreign Ministry calculates that this measure will increase its annual revenues by 75 million marks. The cabinet decision was made despite the objections of Cornelia Schmalz-Jacobsen, the federal commissioner for foreigners.
SZ 14.5.98

Federal aliens advisory board established

The 450 community aliens advisory boards have established a joint federal advisory board to represent the interests of foreigners living in Germany at the federal level. The 38-year-old Murat Cakir from Osnabrück was elected chairmon of the new committee. In his first statement, Cakir called for reform of the citizenship law.
dpa 17.5.98

Republic of Srpska willing to admit all refugees

At a conference in Berlin, the prime minister of the Serbian part of Bosnia-Herzegovina (the Republic of Srpska) Dodik once again stressed his willingness to readmit all refugees from his region. At the same time however, he urged the German government to refrain from forced deportations to his republic as this multiplied the existing problems. Dodik received support from the German diplomat Schumacher who said that 1998 would probably not be a year of return" in large numbers". He added, however, that during this year "structures" could be developed for the return of refugees. Schumacher stated that while he well understood the German political interest in a rapid return of refugees to their homes, it was necessary to take into consideration the "fragile equilibrium" in the region.
FAZ 18.5.98

Heated CDU/CSU controversy over the role of aliens policies in the election campaign

At a secondary convention, the CSU passed a motion to call for a limitation to immigration and a more rigorous policy on deportation. These demands,which the CSU wants included in the mutual campaign platform of the CDU/CSU for the Bundestag election, are subsumed into the larger principle: "Germany and Bayern are not an immigration country". Elaborating on the motion, Peter Gauweiler of the CSU said that the high percentage of aliens in many German cities was jeopardizing the potential of "legal and permanent" aliens to be integrated. The CSU demands triggered a heated debate in CDU circles. The vice-chairman of the CDU Bundestag group, Heiner Geißler, dismissed the Bavarian demands and called for an objective discussion since aliens policies should not be a topic in the electoral campaign platform. The federal interior minister, Manfred Kanther, on the other hand, expressed support for the CSU demand that alien policies be made more restrictive.
Welt 23.5.98 // SZ 23.5.98 // dpa 24.5.98 // Welt 25.5.98 // FAZ 25.5.98 // dpa 27.5.98

German government regulates legal counsel for refugees at Frankfurt Airport

The government has concluded a contract with the lawyers union of Frankfurt to regulate legal counselling for refugees at the Frankfurt Airport. The contract provides for refugee counseling to be financed by the government in a room provided by the airport social services. The lawyers will inform refugees about the legal requirements and process for asylum and the likelihood of their asylum application being successful. The lawyers, moreover, are to assist the refugees in formulating their applications. The government is responding to an over two-year-old decision of the Federal Constitutional Court, which urged that independent legal counseling on asylum be provided at airports for refugees. Similar services are to be set up at other German airports, according to information from the federal interior ministry.
FR 15.5.98 // FR 28.5.98

Refugee relief organizations and Alliance 90/The Greens demand new asylum law

On the occasion of the fifth anniversary of the asylum-law amendment, several refugee relief organizations led by Pro Asyl and Alliance 90/The Greens have presented a list of "minimum requirements for a new asylum law". In their opinion the new federal government to be elected in September should incorporate these demands into a final bill which should be passed within 100 days. The list includes recognizing nongovernmental persecution as grounds for asylum in those countries in which governmental authorities no longer exist, as well as abolishing the so-called airport proceedings. Moreover, the Geneva Convention on Refugees and the European Human Rights Convention should again have unqualified validity. Jürgen Trittin of Alliance 90/The Greens called for a shift from "protection from refugees to protection of refugees".
dpa 26.5.98 // FR 27.5.98 // FAZ 27.5.98 // taz 27.5.98

Civil-war refugees from Afghanistan have no right to asylum

According to a decision of the Upper Administratiave Court of Rheinland-Pfalz in Koblenz, civil-war refugees from Afghanistan are not entitled to asylum. The judges elaborated that recognition of asylum presupposed governmental persecution. In Afghanistan, however, since the expulsion of the Communists in 1992, there had been no state authority, and hence no governmental persecution. The Asylum Law did not grant protection from the consequences of anarchy or the dissolution of governmental authority. However, the Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees has suspended deportations due to the conditions there.
dpa 27.5.98 // FR 28.5.98

Verfassungsschutz report 1997: increase in right-wing violence

The Verfasssungsschutz (Office for the Protection of the Constitution) report for 1997 indicates a distinct increase in right-wing violence. According to Manfred Kanther, the Federal Interior Minister, the number of crimes grounded in a right-wing milieu increased by 34 percent, from 8,730 to 11,719. Kanther reported that two thirds of all right-wing perpetrators of violent crimes were under 21. These young men, according to Kanther, were taking out their frustration about their own lack of perspective on such "weaker individuals" as foreigners and homeless people.
FAZ 7.5.98

Aussiedler statistics

According to figures from the Federal Interior Ministry, 8,338 Aussiedler (ethnic German immigrants), mainly from the former Soviet Union, came to Germany in May. In comparison to the two previous months, there were 2,000 more new arrivals. In April 6,757 Aussiedler came to Germany and in March there were 6,123. In comparison to the same months of the previous year, however, there was a distinct decrease in Aussiedler numbers. In May 1997 12,516 Aussiedler came to Germany whereas in May 1996 there had been 14,065. The Federal Commissioner for Aussiedler, Horst Waffenschmidt, stated that the decreasing number of applications for admission indicated that a continued decline in new arrivals could be expected.
SZ 2.6.98

Asylum statistics

According to information from the Federal Interior Ministry, 6,798 persons applied for asylum in Germany in May. The number of applicants is approximately the same as in the previous month. In comparison to May 1997 the number of asylum applicants was reduced by 659 (8.8 percent). The main countries of origin of applicants in May 1998 were the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (2,071), Turkey (915), and Irak (572). The Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees ruled on 11,233 applications for asylum in May. 412 persons (3.7 percent) were recognized as being entitled to asylum.
BMI Press Announcement 9.6.98

May 1998

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