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efms Migration Report

April 1997

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Political parties present drafts of immigration law and debate reform of citizenship law

The FDP has drafted an immigration law with the aim to control immigration to Germany and adjust it to Germany"s economic interests. The draft provides that every two years a new annual ceiling for Aussiedler, migrants and family members would be fixed. The government would support the integration of immigrants by offering language and integration courses and facilitate naturalization. The FDP effort has spawned heated debate in the coalition and within the CDU/CSU. The majority of the CDU/CSU categorically rejects an immigration regulation. The SPD and the Green Party would like to consider not so much economic but humanitarian aspects. According to the Green Party bill, asylum seekers would not be included in an immigration quota and family unification would be facilitated. In the Bonn coalition, there has been a rapprochement but not yet an actual agreement concerning the reform of citizenship law. Members of the CDU who are in favour of new regulations, such as German citizenship for the children of foreigners born in Germany, are causing increased division in their own party.
NZ 1.4.97 // Welt 2.4.97 // SZ 11.4.97 // FR 11.4.97 // FAZ 15.4.97 // FR 22.4.97 // SZ 23.4.97

Bosnian deportations remain controversial

The forced deportations of Bosnian war refugees carried out by the Länder, especially Bayern and Baden Württemberg, has provoked severe criticism from many quarters, including the UNHCR and politicians such as the Bosnian expert Schwarz-Schilling (CDU). Criticism focuses on the instability of the areas the refugees are being returned to. Even Defense Minister Rühe and Foreign Minister Kinkel have expressed misgivings regarding the policies of the Länder interior ministers. Despite numerous appeals, the IMK (Permanent Conference of Interior Ministers) considers a revision of their deportation policy to be unnecessary.
FR 1.4.97 // FR 10.4.97 // SZ 14.4.97 // FAZ 17.4.97 // FAZ 18.4.97 // SZ 23.4.97

Repatriation agreement between Germany and Algeria

A "repatriation protocol" negotiated between the German and Algerian governments regulates various aspects of procedures for the difficult deportation of Algerians from Germany. The repatriation actions will be facilitated in the future by having Algerian policemen accompany Algerian deportation detainees in the airplanes. Further terms of the agreement related to ascertaining the identity of the detainees. The agreement must be signed in the coming months by the Algerian government before it can come into force. The refugee organization Pro Asyl refers to the agreement as "undisguised collaboration with a terrorist regime". The Green Party criticizes in particular the planned accompaniment of detainees by Algerian police, since the military regime does not respect human rights.
FAZ 3.4.97 // FR 3.4.97 // Welt 3.4.97 // dpa 3.4.97

Argument between German and Turkish governments after arson attack

Three members of a Turkish family in Krefeld died as the result of an arson attack perpetrated, in all likelihood, by the father of the family. Before the circumstances of the incident could be clarified, Turkish politicans, assuming the attack to be the work of radical right-wing organizations accused European governments of being responsible for xenophopia. Prime Minister Erbakan, the Turkish foreign ministry and several newspapers made inflammatory remarks against the German government und linked the alleged hatred of Turks to Germany"s negative attitude to Turkey"s entry into the EU. They spoke also of general bad treatment of the almost two million Turks living in Germany. Germany expected an official retraction from the Turkish side since the inflammatory remarks had a negative impact on German-Turkish relations.
FR 2.4.97 // FAZ 3.4.97 // FR 7.4.97 // FAZ 8.4.97

Verfassungsschutz report 1996

Presenting the annual report of the Verfassungsschutz (Office for the Protection of the Constitution), Federal Interior Minister Kanther stated that right-wing criminality increased by 11% in 1996 in comparison to 1995. Over 50% of right-wing violence was aimed at foreigners. Membership in extremist foreigner organizations reached its highest point in 1996 with 57,300 members, 30,900 of whom were members in fundamental Islamic groups. Among these, the Turkish "Milli Görüs" led with 26,500 persons.
dpa 8.4.97

Closer cooperation with neighboring countries to combat criminality

The interior ministers of the Länder intend to step up efforts to combat organized criminality and improve cooperation with their Eastern European neighbors. The latter are to be drawn more closely into Europol activities. The interior ministers of Poland and Germany, Miller and Kanther have agreed to coordinate the work of their police authorities. With the help of German-Polish investigative groups and border guards, illegal immigration and immigrant smuggling are to be combatted at the common border.
FAZ 11.4.97 // FAZ 18.4.97 // Welt 18.4.97

Deportations to Zaire suspended

Subsequent to a report submitted by the foreign office on the critical situation in Zaire, the federal government has advised the Länder not to deport rejected asylum seekers to Zaire for the time being. Asylum interest groups, on the other hand, advocate a general ban on deportations.
FR 17.4.97

Constitutional court demands closer examination of asylum petitions prior to deportation

The Federal Constitutional Court has ruled in the case of a 16-year-old Kurd whose asylum petition had been rejected by the administrative court as "patently unfounded", that courts must more carefully verify whether flight alternatives exist in the home country before deporting asylum seekers. Certain requirements would have to be met by investigators before they can reject a petition as "patently unfounded".
FAZ 23.4.97 // Welt 23.4.2997

UNHCR: guidelines on asylum for children

For the first time the UNHCR has set up guidelines in German language on the treatment of unaccompanied child asylum-seekers. The welfare of the children and their special need for protection and care should be the first concerns of German authorities. Furthermore, UNHCR demands that children receive hearings appropriate to their age-groups. If children are rejected they must be assured of adequate care in their homeland before deportation.
FAZ 23.4.97

Compromise on asylum-seeker benefits law

The mediating committee of Bundestag and Bundesrat has come to an agreement on the social benefits law for asylum-seekers. Civil-war refugees, asylum seekers and tolerated foreigners must reckon with a cut in social security payments. Recipients of such aid are to receive 20% less than their German counterparts for three years. From the money thus saved, it is recommended that local governments contribute 150 million DM annually to assist in reconstruction in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The decision of the mediating committee must now be ratified by the Bundestag and Bundesrat.
SZ 24.4.97 // FR 24.4.97

Russian deserters face deportation

Although in February the German government spoke out in favour of residence rights for Russian military members formerly stationed in Eastern Germany, many of the ex-soldiers, who are considered deserters in Russia, now face deportation from Germany. Only those who served as informers to the Bundesnachrichtendienst (federal intelligence agency) can hope for permanent asylum. Other ex-soldiers will only be protected in cases of extreme hardship, if they can prove that they are threatened in their home country.
Spiegel 28.4.97

Unaccompanied refugee children rare since introduction of visa requirements

Subsequent to the introduction of visa requirements for all unaccommpanied minors in January, the Bundesgrenzschutz (border security patrol) registered only 34 unaccompanied children entering Germany via the Frankfurt airport without visas. In 1996 there had been 528 children, of them 413 Kurds. The Bundesgrenzschutz considers this to be a positive result of the new ordinance. The refugee organization Pro Asyl on the other hand, criticizes this development arguing that visa requirements provided professional immigrant smugglers with good business opportunities.
FR 30.4.97

Asylum statistics

The number of asylum petitions in April 1997 amounted to 9,148 persons; these are 310 (3,3%) less than in April 1996. Most of the asylum-seekers came from Turkey (1,480), Ex-Jugoslavia (1,347), Irak (1,058), Aghanistan (450) and Iran (346). Decisions were reached on 15,305 cases; of which 735 persons (4,8%) were granted asylum and 879 (5,7%)obtained protection from deportation. 9,838 petitions (64,3%) were rejected.
BMI Press Announcement 7.5.97

April 1997

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