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efms Migration Report

October 1998

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Organizations demand reorientation of refugee policies

Numerous refugee and welfare organizations are hoping for a change in course from the new federal government. The Intercultural Council, in which trade unions, churches and human rights organizations cooperate, does not oppose the asylum compromise of 1993, but criticizes rather the long deportation detention and the restrictive practice of recognition. Pro Asyl and other groups condemn the asylum seeker benefits law as being inhumane, especially when dealing with torture victims and ill refugees. Moreover, the groups call for a new integration policy which would facilitate naturalization, allow dual citizenship and enforce special backlog regulations for refugees. Both of the major churches, which run social services at the Frankfurt airport, advocate eliminating the so-called "airport proceedings".
SZ 2.10.98 // FR 5.10.98 // FAZ 8.10.98 // FR 13.10.98

Panel of scientists presents concepts for immigration policies

The "Committee on Migration", a panel of scientists, has presented its recommendations for immigration policies. Referring to Germany"s demographic and economic self-interest, the council urges that immigration be regulated by a central agency and shaped by political concerns. The council also calls for taking measures to improve cultural and social integration.
FAZ 10.10.98

New UNHCR representative in Bonn

Jean-Noel Wetterwald is to be the UN commissioner"s new representative for refugees in Germany. The Swiss attorney has served until now in the UNHCR delegation in Hongkong.
FR 13.10.98

Repatriation to Vietnam: Hanoi"s delay tactics torpedo agreement

According to the Federal Interior Ministry, the plan to return 20,000 Vietnamese by the end of the year, as laid down in the German-Vietnamese agreement of July 1995, will not even come close to being achieved since barely 6,000 Vietnamese had left Germany by the beginning of September. Vietnam is impeding the realization of the agreement in many cases by refusing or delaying the necesssary approval for repatriation. Meanwhile, the number of Vietnamese living here has remained constant; from January to August of this year 2,131 Vietnamese asylum seekers were registered.
FAZ 13.10.98

Expulsion of Turkish offenders despite association agreement

Turkish citizens may be expelled if they have committed serious offences in Germany, or if it is likely that they will perpetrate further offences. The federal court of administration ruled that while EU association would gradually give Turkish workers greater freedom of movement, the protection of public order had higher priority. The court did not resolve the question of whether or not expulsion is legitimate when there is no likelihood of further violations.
FAZ 6.10.98

Federal Aliens Council demands official recognition

The Federal Aliens Council which, as an umbrella organization, represents some 450 local aliens councils, demands official recognition by the new federal government and regular involvement in decisions regarding policies on aliens. The council deplores the fact that, aside from the commissioner for aliens, there is no other group representing aliens" interests.
dpa 14.10.98

New government agrees on reform of citizenship law

The SPD and the Green Party have concluded their coalition negotiations and formed a new government. As outlined in the coalition paper, both parties came to an agreement on fundamen- tal changes to the present citizenship law. One major reform provides that foreign children ha- ving at least one parent who was either born in Germany or lived there by the age of 14, will become German citizens at birth. Other reform plans include reducing the time requirements for naturalization and allowing dual citizenship. Alien spouses will receive independent residence permits after two years. The Green Party did not manage to push through their demand for an immigration law. Speaking for the SPD, Herta Deubler-Gmelin declared that in the present situation no one could seriously advocate immigration.
SZ 15.10.98 // SZ 16.10.98

The new government"s policies on aliens are criticized

The SPD and the Greens" plans to reform citizenship law are encountering stiff opposition from the CDU/CSU. The main target of criticism is the goal of making dual citizenship possible. The CSU group in the European Parliament has announced their intention to file a complaint before the European Court. They feel that the possession of dual citizenship by three to four million people contradicts the spirit of the EU which does not grant non-EU citizens rights to freedom of movement. The FDP, on the other hand, regrets that there will not be an immigration law with the new government. The Pro Asyl group aims their criticism especially at the Greens, charging that in their campaign platform the party had advocated orienting asylum policies on human rights, but the terms of the coalition agreement regarding this issue were too hesitant and vague.
SZ 16.10.98 // dpa 21.10.98 // SZ 23.10.98 // Welt 28.10.98 // SZ 29.10.98

Länder commissioners for aliens demand more comprehensive reforms

The commissioners for aliens of the Länder are only partially satisfied with the new federal government"s plans for reforming alien policies. The commissioners urge that more liberal regulations be rapidly implemented regarding naturalization. At the same time, the commissioners demand that legal, long-term immigrants must have unlimited access to the labor market and should receive language and integration courses. Moreover, they demand that asylum-seekers who have long been living here should not be subjected to deportation, but rather be treated in accordance with regulations regarding backlog and hardship cases.
dpa 22.10.98 // FR 23.10.98

Federal Office criticizes Czech Republic for neglecting illegal immigration

The president of the Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees, Hans Georg Dusch, attributes the rise in illegal immigration at the German-Czech border to the Czech Republic"s lax refugee policies. Dusch argued that the Czech Republic should not regard itself as a transit country, thereby neglecting its borders. As a so-called "safe third country", the Czech Republic was obliged to return foreigners to their countries of origin. German authorities reported that refugees deported to the Czech Republic were able to move about freely once their personal data had been recorded.
NN 28.10.98

Nuernberg: uncertainty regarding expected petitions for naturalization

The announcement by the new federal government that naturalization is to be possible after eight years" residence has engendered speculations about the actual number of naturalizations. The Nürnberg Bureau for City Research and Statistics declared that it was difficult to predict how many of the 83,430 foreigners living in the city would actually decide to acquire German citizenship. Assuming that EU citizens would retain their citizenship, one estimate spoke of around 26,000 "potential candidates for naturalization".
NZ 30.10.98

Interior Minister Schily demands reform of EU refugee policies

The new federal Minister of the Interior, Otto Schily (SPD), like his predecessor Manfred Kanther, calls for regulating refugee admission on an EU basis. Referring to the fact that in 1997 Germany admitted 41 percent of the refugees who came to the EU, Schily emphasized that this should not become the rule. The new minister suggests that along with an EU distribution system, it would be possible to set up a common fund to which the EU states would contribute in order to cover the costs of refugees. Schily announced that he would maintain a "high degree of continuity" in matters relating to refugee and migration policies.
dpa 29.10.98 // FR 30.10.98

Kosovar Albanians: high administrative court speaks of "group persecution"

The High Administrative Court (OVG) of Lüneburg declared in an assessment of the situation in theYugoslavian province of Kosovo that the Albanian population there had been subjected to "locally-limited group persecution" since the spring of 1998. The court noted that this was true only for certain territories in Kosovo and asserted that asylum seekers who had entered Germany earlier would have to provide evidence of individual persecution.
FR 26.10.98 // BAFl Press Announcement 26.10.98

Bavarian administrative court: "Mehmet" may be deported

In its final decision, the Bavarian court of administration ruled that the 14-year-old Turkish ju- venile delinquent known by the police code-name "Mehmet" could be deported. The boy"s residence permit had not been renewed since July 1998. In justifying its ruling, the court said that all educational and therapeutical endeavours to help "Mehmet" had failed, and that he repre- sented a significant threat to public welfare and security. The boy"s lawyer has filed a complaint at the federal constitutional court.
SZ 21.10.98 // Welt 22.10.98

Aussiedler statistics

The number of Aussiedler further declined in October: 9,584 newly arrived ethnic German immigrants were registered, about 98 percent of them are from CIS-states. The Ministry of the Interior declares that people already recognized as ethnic Germans are increasingly seeing a future perspective for themselves and their children in their countries of origin and are staying there.
Welt 7.11.98

Asylum statistics

According to the federal Ministry of the Interior, 10,551 persons applied for asylum in October. This is 8.1 percent more than in October 1997 and 9.3 percent more than in the previous month. The main country of origin is the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia, with almost half of all asylum seekers. Ninety percent of these are Kosovar Albanians. The rate of recognition in October was 4 percent.
BMI Press Announcement 5.11.98

October 1998

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