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Immigration Society Germany - Future Scenarios: Opportunities and Conflict Potential

The study for the Enquete Commission Demographic Change of the German Federal Parliament examined the experiences of the United States, a classic country of immigration, and France, the oldest country of immigration in Europe. It formulated recommendations for the development of integration policieThe study conducted for the Select Committee on Demographic Change of the German Federal Parliament examined the experiences of the United States, a classical country of immigration, and France, the oldest country of immigration in Europe. It formulated recommendations for the development of integration policies for the migrants in Germany.

In the United States it is possible to distinguish between a period of rather successful integration of immigrants (1921-1965) and a period of more problematic integration (from about 1966 onwards). In the United States the integration of immigrants takes place successfully on the basis of a political concept of nation with a strong demand for loyalty and strong ties. Access to the nation is open due to relatively quick naturalisations and citizenship at birth on the basis of ius soli. Integration takes place on the basis of a widely shared conviction of the desirability of cultural and social harmonisation of immigrants and the host society. Factors that have a positive effect on integration are: controlled migration inflows, a growing economy, acculturation strategies instead of minority policies, cultural closeness of migrants, decrease of racism and ethnic prejudices. Methods and instruments that promote integration are: citizenship, civil rights and political participation, an education system that promotes joint cultural aspects and does not emphasise cultural differences, a common language and the concept of individual equal opportunities. Since about the mid-sixties one can speak of an integration crisis. Immigration is increasing considerably, the ethnic composition of the migrants is changing, society and state are losing their definite approach to the acculturaltion of migrants (uncertainty in integration model) and the concept of the American nation is increasingly being defined in contradictory ways. Problematic measures, methods and instruments that do not promote integration are: the formation of minorities, group rights, bilingual separate education, promotion by group-related quotas ("affirmative action").

The integration of migrants in France was relatively successful in the period 1945-1974. The integration of migrants was part of an integration strategy relating to society as a whole which was committed to the model of cultural homogeneity. On the basis of a political concept of nation, access to citizenship is open due to relatively quick naturalisations and citizenship at birth on the basis of ius soli. A growing economy and a strategy of acculturation, which starts above all in the education system, are fundamental conditions and methods of this success. Despite continuities of successful integration, certain indicators of an integration crisis have become apparent since the mid-seventies. They are related to economic problems, an uncertainty regarding integration models and a non-congruence between strategies to promote acculturation and social-policy measures: the objective is to achieve a joint culture on the one hand, but on the other hand wrong decisions concerning housing policies have caused ethnic concentration and social segregation.

For Germany the following integration-related tasks were identified:"dealing with" ethnic heterogeneity, reviewing the concepts of "nation" and citizenship, tackling the problem of ethnic stratification and discrimination as well as migration-related administrative and research tasks. The results gained from the analyses of experiences made in the United States and France and the necessary tasks that were worked out for Germany are categorised into three scenarios which show different potential developments, depending on certain decisions and measures:
- "ambivalent policy" scenario,
- "formation of minorities - stratification" scenario,
- "acculturation and forming new nations" scenario.

Based on the project results an acculturation strategy for Germany was developed which includes - alongside the integration of eastern Germany - a process of the formation of a new nation.


Funding: Deutscher Bundestag
Completed: June 15, 1997
Researchers: Friedrich Heckmann, Verónica Tomei
Publication:
Heckmann,Friedrich/Tomei, Verónica: Einwanderungsgesellschaft Deutschland - Zukunftsszenarien: Chancen und Konfliktpotentiale, Gutachten für die Enquetekommission Demographischer Wandel des Deutschen Bundestages, 1997. In: Zweiter Zwischenbericht der Enquete-Kommission Demographischer Wandel", Deutscher Bundestag, 13. Wahlperiode, Drucksache 13/11460, 05.10.1998 (in German); and in: Enquete-Kommission Demographischer Wandel", Deutscher Bundestag (ed.): Herausforderungen unserer älter werdenden Gesellschaft an den einzelnen und die Politik. Studienprogramm. Heidelberg, v.Decker, 1999, Vol.4, pp.825-912


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