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efms Migration Report

December 2001

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Still no consensus in immigration

As the debate on immigration reform has not abated among political parties, it is possible that the topic "immigration" will be drawn into this year's election campaign. However, opinions still differ within CDU and CSU, the main opposition parties. Whereas Mr. Müller, Saarland's Premier, has expressed his willingness to reach a compromise, other CDU representatives, and the CSU in particular, have made it quite clear that they refuse to reach an agreement on the basis of the Federal Government's immigration bill. Thus no compromise is in sight, even though there is broad support for the planned immigration and integration law among a wide range of organisations: The Central German Craft Association, The Federal Association of German Industry (BDI), the Association of Employers, The German Association of Industry and Trade (DIHK) as well as the Protestant and Catholic Churches explicitly support the government bill, urging to pass the reform previous to the upcoming parliamentary election.

When the government bill was first introduced in the Bundesrat, the upper house of the federal parliament, the states with a CDU/CSU-led government called for a change of course and demanded several alterations of the bill, all focussing on making the reduction of immigration the only goal of the reform. The opposition's proposals concern the immigration of labour (rejecting the government proposals on a credit system for admitting non-German labour) and limitations on other forms of immigration (rejecting the introduction of additional asylum grounds and calling for reducing to 10 years the age up to which non-German children can join their parents in Germany). Consequently, the Bundesrat rejected the government bill on 20th December 2001, but it also reached no majority on the proposals of CDU/CSU-governed states.
Spiegel 1.12.01 // NN 4.12.01 // Welt 5.12.01 // FR 6.12.01 // Fr 8.12.01 // FAZ 12.12.01 // SZ 18.12.01 // Fr 20.12.01 // FR 21.12.01

Federal parliament passes 2nd Security Package

On 14th December 2001, the Bundestag, the lower house of the federal parliament, passed the second anti-terrorism and national security package, with a broad majority consisting of SPD, CDU/CSU and the Greens. The legislative package comprises, among other amendments, expanded powers for intelligence agencies, an improved exchange of data between authorities and intelligence agencies, improved border checks, stricter background checks on visa applicants, preventing entries by extremists and speeding up deportations of extremists.

The law also allows for biometric data to be stored on passports and identity cards. Other changes concern the Law on Foreigners: The Central Register for Foreigners is to be expanded into a comprehensive database for visa applications, where, provided that applicants agree, information on religious affiliations can also be stored. Police forces will also gain better access to the data stored in the register.

In future, non-Germans can also be refused residence entitlements or deported from Germany if there is proof that they pose a risk for Germany's democratic order, have participated in violent political acts or support international terrorism.
SZ 15.12.2001 // NZZ 15.12.2001 // taz 16.12.2001 // Press statement BMI 20.12.01

Radical-Islamist Kaplan group has been banned

The Federal Ministry of the Interior has banned the Cologne-based Islamist-extremist group Caliph State and its subsidiaries with a total of 1,100 members in seven German states. The ban was made possible by changes in the Law on Associations abolishing the so-called religious privilege, a reform which became law on 8th December 2001. In its explanation for the move, the ministry states that the organisation led by the self-appointed caliph Metin Kaplan poses a risk for Germany's national security and its international standing, opposes the values embodied in Germany's constitution and of a peaceful co-existence of different ethnic groups.

In the aftermath of the ban, police searched about 200 premises all over Germany. In Bavaria, authorities confiscated more than DM 40,000 belonging to Kaplan's supporters, and searched 15 apartments and businesses of functionaries and activists. In North-Rhine Westphalia, the organisation's former premises were cleared by police forces, 84 other premises were searched and the organisation's estate confiscated. Metin Kaplan, the organisation's leader, who is currently serving a prison sentence in Germany, is to be deported to Turkey, together with other leaders of his organisation. There are also efforts to reverse the decision granting Kaplan political asylum in Germany. However, Kaplan's deportation to Turkey will only be enforced if the Turkish government provides a legally binding assurance that Kaplan will not be subject to the death penalty in Turkey.
Press statement Nr. 337 BMI 12.12.01 // Press statement 578/01- Bavarian Ministry of the Interior 12.12.01 // Press statement - Ministry of the Interior of North-Rhine Westphalia 13.12.01 // taz 13.12.01

Screen search for suspected Islamist terrorists

Two months after the beginning of screen searches for Islamist terrorists, a procedure screening data from local authorities, universities, banks or airlines for terrorist suspects, several German states have presented first results. However, none of the states has so far been able to conclude a case. Authorities in Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg, Hesse, Brandenburg and other states have filtered out several suspicious cases, which will now be further investigated. According to North-Rhine Westphalia's Ministry of the Interior, the screen searches have so far not resulted in further investigations, and the bulk of the data stored on disks and CDs has already been destroyed in incinerating plants.
Welt am Sonntag 9.12.01 // taz 10.12.01 // Welt 18.12.01

2001 statistics on Aussiedler (ethnic German immigrants)

For the second consecutive year, the annual number of ethnic German immigrants and accompanying family members remained below the 100,000 mark, while it had exceeded 100,000 in the twelve previous years. A total of 98,484 Aussiedler entered Germany in 2001, compared to 95,615 in the previous year. Experts do not expect a further increase for this year, as the number of applications decreased by 20% to 107,000 last year.
Press statement BMI 20.12.01 // FR 3.01.02 // SZ 3.01.02

Asylum statistics for 2001

5,576 persons submitted applications for political asylum in December 2001, a decrease of 2,430 (30.4%) over the previous month, and a decrease of 387 (6.5%) over December 2000. All in all, 88,287 persons have applied for political asylum in Germany in 2001. Thus the total number of applicants has remained below the 100,000 mark for the fourth consecutive year.

Compared to 2000, respective figures have increased by 9,723 cases (+12.4%), mainly due to an increase in applicants from Iraq, Turkey (with most applicants from both countries being Kurds) and Russia. Approximately 6,000 applicants have fled war-torn Afghanistan, compared to 5,380 in the previous year. The main countries of origin remain to be Iraq, followed by Turkey (which was in third place in 2000), the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and Afghanistan.

The Federal Office for the Recognition of Foreign Refugees (BAFl) has recognised 5,716 persons (5,3%) as entitled to political asylum. An additional 17,003 persons (15.9%) have been recognised as protected against deportation under 51 par.1 Foreigners Act. A total of 58,785 applications (54,8%) have been rejected.
FR 3.01.02 // SZ 3.01.02 // Press statement BMI 9.01.02

December 2001

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