Saturday, February 6, 2016

Germany further tightens asylum laws & the "no support in other countries" mantra

The argument that migrants or immigrants get no government support at all in other countries keeps cropping up in conversations about the European refugee crisis.

This really has to to with the long standing unproven claims by conservatives that many migrants come to Germany to collect social benefits and have no intention to work. Previously  directed mostly at immigrants from some of the recent new EU member states, such as Poland, Romania, or Bulgaria, this claim is now being used for refugees.

Germany has tightened its asylum law twice within a year or so, extending the list of countries that are deemed "secure countries of origin", first to include Balkan states like Kosovo and Albania, now to include Northern African countries like Tunisia and Algeria, as well as imposing restrictions on refugees already present in Germany. Faster processing of claims and lowering the threshold for deportation are two other aspects of the new law.

Integration courses, in other words, the language courses migrants need to attend, used to be free, but in the future, refugees will have to contribute a co-pay of 10 Euros, which is not negligible if you only get a couple of hundred Euros monthly cash allowance.

Some German states are keeping refugees in communal centers for as long as possible because such refugees can claim only about 150 Euros in monthly cash benefits.

The most controversial change in last weeks "second asylum package", as they call the recent set of changes, lies in the restriction on bringing family into Germany. Sold to the public as a measure that would really not affect people out of Syria, it turns out, Syrian refugees would be affected, too.

Even worse, unaccompanied minors are set to lose the right to have their parents come to Germany within a period of two years. This has caused some upset in the junior partner of the Berlin government, the social democratic party.

The rationale for prohibiting parents of unaccompanied minors to follow their children is, in the opinion of the blogster, borderline barbaric. We saw a tweet by the office of the Christian Democratic Party (@cdurlp) of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate yesterday that justified the measure as follows: If we allow unaccompanied minors to bring their parents, we run the risk of parents sending their children to claim asylum and then bring the rest of the family.

You read that right.

Some German Christian Democrats are convinced that people in a refugee camp in the Middle East will send their teen to undertake a perilous, uncertain journey in order to get asylum for the family in Germany.

And what about those Germans who don't want to provide any support? They are either willing to let people die or don't know how Germany works.

There is no infrastructure in Germany for people who get no government support at all. Yes, it may sound strange to see "no infrastructure" and "no government support" in the same sentence, but Americans and others understand.

Americans may not like tent cities of homeless people right next to luxury malls, and cities may ban charities like Food Not Bombs from feeding the homeless in "middle class" neighborhoods, but there are spaces for them. Churches and volunteers provide food without asking for a government paper that certifies you are poor. There are doctors and nurses or med students who will provide care. 

Germany doesn't have much of that. Tent cities like the "jungle" near the French city of Calais, are anathema around here.

Germans are very proud to have food banks these days, the biggest organization is known as Die Tafel (a fancy term for a table with food), founded in 1995. Needy people have to show an official benefits statement proving they are entitled to the basic means tested Hartz IV or equivalent SSI type benefits.

Recent reports detail the strain on the food banks in the wake of the refugee crisis and potential rationing of groceries by the organization.

France just recently passed a law that mandates super markets donate leftover groceries, but no such law is in the works in Germany. In fact, dumpster diving continues to be illegal in Germany and is still being prosecuted.

[Update 2/8/2016] The more restrictive rules outlined above are not enough for some. One of the Christian Democratic Party's deputies is already calling for even tougher ones. Among them: move the earliest date for gaining permanent residence status from three to five years, speak good German (not just "basic"), be able to support yourself.
Der Spiegel simply printed his claims, apparently unaware that Germany has two types of permanent residence, one of which you can get after three years, the second (that one equivalent to the US permanent residence status) after five years.

No comments:

Post a Comment