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efms Migration Report


March 1997

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Bosnian refugees: first deportations

Despite continuing criticism, several Länder (Bayern, Berlin, Baden-Württemberg, Hamburg) began to deport Bosnian refugees to their home countries in March. Other Länder plan to follow suit after April 1; Nordrhein-Westfalen is the only Land which does not intend to implement compulsory measures for the time being. The most criticized aspect of the deportations is that they are carried out on the basis of family status und not according to the refugees" area of origin. After renewed discussions, the interior ministers of the Länder have agreed to adhere in principle to the plan to begin deportations of families with children on May 1. Deportations will be staggered. In the meantime it has become known that the USA intends to admit 18,000 Bosnian refugees, among them 7,000 current residents of Germany.
SZ 12.3.97 // taz 18.3.97 // Welt 19.3.97 // dpa 20.3.97 // SZ 22.3.97 // dpa 26.3.97 // SZ 27.3.97


Call for protection of persecuted women

The UNHCR, the German Women"s Council and Pro Asyl demand better protection of female refugees, criticizing that persecution of women is often made light of or considered "non-political". The organizations charge that specifically female grounds for fleeing are rarely taken into account in asylum proceedings. With the motto "Protect Persecuted Women" the groups intend to launch a campaign to garner support for their demands.
dpa 6.3.97 // FAZ 7.3.97 // taz 7.3.97


Visa requirements and residence permits for foreigners" children

The Bundesrat and the Federal Cabinet have ratified in modified form Interior Minister Kanther"s ordinance which stipulates visa and residence permits for children under 16 from Turkey, ex-Yugoslavia, Morocco and Tunesia. Children from these countries entering Germany now require a visa. Those who are already residing here need a residence permit which is to be issued automatically and without application by the aliens authorities. The decision was preceded by numerous protests and demonstrations by foreigners support groups.
dpa 3.3.97 // FR 4.3.97 // SZ 5.3.97 // Welt 13.3.97 // taz 13.3.97 // FR 15.3.97


Church asylum

According to data issued by the Leipzig Missionswerk, approximately 300 refugees, almost half of whom are Kurds, found protection from deportation in Catholic and Evangelical parishes in Germany in 1996. The ecumenical Church Asylum Network of Bayern views church protection as a manifestation of the serious shortcomings of the German asylum procedure and calls for a speedy improvement of legal regulations, qualified counseling of refugees before their first hearings, and suspension of deportation until appeal proceedings have been concluded.
dpa 2.3.97 // taz 17.3.97


Rheinland-Pfalz puts forward immigration law

The SPD/FDP ruling coalition of Rheinland-Pfalz has drafted a proposal for an immigration law aimed at regulating alien immigration and promoting integration. The draft provides for a yearly quota which would not include family unification and asylum seeekers. After eight years foreigners would have the right to be naturalized. The proposal does not provide for permanent double citizenship.
FR 11.3.97 // SZ 12.3.97 // FAZ 12.3.97


Germans from Romania asked to return

The Romanian government would like to persuade ethnic Germans who immigrated to Germany to return to Romania where their entire possessions, land and housing will be given back to them. Only 50,000 ethnic Germans remain in Romania; approximately half a million have immigrated to Germany. The government fears that the German element will disappear completely and hopes that returnees will revitalize the economy.
dpa 16.3.97


Border patrol intensified to prevent feared influx of Albanian refugees

Due to fears that Albanian refugees might attempt to enter Germany, border patrols have been stepped up in Bayern and Baden-Württemberg. Interior Minister Kanther has urged the Border Protection Police to increase security measures in all border areas. Kanther has declared that Germany is not able to cope with another wave of refugees and that Albanians, moreover, cannot claim asylum rights in Germany. There has not, however, been any indication that Albanians are entering Germany in increased numbers.
Welt 17.3.97 // dpa 20.3.97


No agreement on asylum-seeker benefits law

The mediation committee of the Bundestag and the Bundesrat has not been able to reach a compromise regarding the new law on benefits for asylum-seekers. According to the bill, asylum seekers are to receive benefits mainly in the form of goods; cash payments wil be calculated on the basis of the social welfare rate which has been reduced by 20%. The application of the law is to be extended to include civil-war refugees and foreigners with deportation protection or toleration. This has been rejected by SPD-led Länder and the refugee assistance organization Pro Asyl.
Welt 11.3.97 // Welt 13.3.97


Amnesty International criticizes German asylum and refugee policies

In the context of a worldwide campaign for refugee protection, Amnesty International has warned against the planned deportation of Bosnian refugees from Germany and other European states. German asylum policies are also criticized for being geared mainly to resistance and combat against abuse, thereby departing from international standards.
dpa 19.3.97 // FR 20.3.97


Discussion of naturalization law reform continues

Support for the naturalization of all foreign children born in Germany is growing among members of all political parties. These children would have the right to double citizenship until the age of 21, at which time they would have to choose one citizenship. Members of the FDP, the SPD, the Green Party and several CDU representatives are in favour of such a solution. In a letter to Chancellor Helmut Kohl, the CDU members criticize their party for lack of initiative in this area. The head of the CSU parliamentary group in the Bundestag, Glos, on the other hand, emphasizes that the CSU will oppose all reform proposals. He warns against "forced Germanification." In the framework of a debate on the requirement of residence permits for foreign children, the SPD Interior Minister of Rheinland-Pfalz advocates facilitating naturalization.
FR 6.3.97 // dpa 6.3.97 // Welt 20.3.97 // FAZ 21.3.97 // taz 21.3.97 // SZ 24.3.97


CDU/CSU: curtail employment of non-EU foreigners

Social politicians of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group have called for significantly limiting employment opportunities for non-EU foreigners. To achieve this, they propose to make entry to Germany more difficult by, for example, reducing the number of seasonal jobs and implementing stricter access regulations for asylum-seekers, foreign spouses, students and au-pairs. The proposal to impose quotas on the admission of Jewish emigrants for the former Soviet Union met with severe criticism.
dpa 23.3.97 // Spiegel 24.3.97 // FR 25.3.97 // Welt 25.3.97 // Welt 26.3.97


Kinkel demands local voting rights for Turks

Prior to his trip to Turkey, the Foreign Minister Klaus Kinkel advocated granting Turks the right to vote in local elections. He called the discrimination of Turks up to now an injustice, especially considering that they make up the largest foreign group and play an important role in the Germany economy.
Focus 24.3.97 // SZ 24.3.97


Green Party: proposal for a new aliens law

The Green Party has presented a bill to reform the existing aliens law: foreigners who have resided on a regular basis in Germany for five years would receive the right to settle. This would place them on an almost equal footing with German citizens regarding social and political rights. The draft is part of an overall party program relating to integration policies which includes an immigration law and an anti-discrimination law.
FAZ 26.3.97 // Welt 26.3.97


Statistics: immigrant smuggling on the rise

According to a Federal Interior Ministry report, immigrant-smuggler assisted entries to Germany rose in the previous year. The number of apprehended foreigners who had illegaly entered Germany in this way rose to 7,364 in 1996. On the other hand, the number of those attempting illegal entry without the aid of immigrant smugglers fell by 8.7% to 27,024 persons. Of the 2,215 smugglers arrested, most were from the Czech Republic and Poland.
Welt 24.3.97


Aussiedler statistics

In March 1997, 9,642 ethnic German immigrants (Aussiedler) were registered, of whom 9,440 came from former Soviet Union countries. In the same month of the previous year the number was 11,883 persons. A total of 33,797 Aussiedler were registered in the first quarter of 1997, i.e. 7,000 fewer than in the same period of the previous year. The number of applications, too, is declining. Whereas there were 54,332 applications in the first three months of 1996, in the same period of 1997 there were only 38, 064.
BMI Bulletin 26/97


Asylum statistics

In March 1997 there were 8,392 petitions for asylum in Germany, 308 fewer than in Feburary, and 729 fewer than in March 1996. The main countries of origin were Turkey (1,634) the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (1,099) and Irak (989). A total of 27,846 asylum petitions were filed in the first three months of 1997. This was 2,456 fewer (8.1%) than in the same period of the previous year. The Bundesamt (Federal Office) ruled on over 14,410 cases in March 1997. 859 persons ( 6.0%) were recognized as entitled to asylum, 767 were granted deportation protection, and 9,091 petitions were rejected. The overall recognition rate was 6.0% in the first quarter of 1997.
BMI Press Announcement 7.4.97 // SZ 8.4.97

March 1997

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