Date: Mon, 3 Feb 97 18:26:46 CST
From: (Brian Hauk)
Subject: Bonn Continues Attacks On Immigrants

Bonn Continues Attacks On Immigrants

By Carl-Erik Isacsson, Militant, Vol.61 no.6, 10 February 1997

The Christian Social Union (CSU), the sister party and coalition partner of German chancellor Helmut Kohl's Christian Democratic Union (CDU), are waging a campaign to blame immigrants for the high unemployment in Germany. At the party's traditional New Years' meeting in Bad Kreuth, a campaign was launched demanding that foreigners from non-European Union countries not be granted work permits the first five years they live in Germany.

On January 7, CSU chairman Theo Waigel who is also minister of finance in the coalition government stated, We have to keep the steady jobs for Germans. He asserted that so many foreigners are needed on the labor market in Germany just because many Germans do not want to do the heavy, dirty and low paid jobs. His statement coincided with the publication of the unemployment figures for December 1996, listed at 4.2 million workers. The jobless rate is up from 10.2 percent of the workforce to 10.8 percent and is even expected to reach 4.5 million this winter, according to Bernard Jagoda, the head of Germany's labor department. Criticized by liberals and social democrats in parliament for playing on prejudices, Waigel countered that in times like these immigration has to be checked. Germany is still too attractive. Otherwise not so many foreigners would come here, he said. In 1991–1993, when refugee camps were set on fire in Heuerswerda and Rostock, prominent government politicians also had openly blamed the immigrants for the high unemployment and social crises that followed the reunification of Germany. Several immigrants of Turkish origin were killed in arson attacks in Molln and Solingen during that period. At the time, then-Minister of Interior Wolfgang Schauble had stated, Large parts of the population are concerned about the influx of asylum seekers. We have to check the uncontrollable influx of foreigners.

Stricter asylum laws were proposed and enacted to solve the problem. Tens of thousands took part in demonstrations at that time in Germany against the attacks on the immigrants. Another part of the anti-immigrant campaign is to deport 320,000 refugees back to Bosnia.

As of January 15, children from Morocco, Turkey, Tunisia, and Yugoslavia are required to have visas if they are to visit Germany. Minister of Interior Manfred Kanther motivated the decision by the government declaring, There has been an abuse of the present rules leading to an increased influx of youth from these states. The present rules allowed children from these countries, below 16 years, to visit Germany without visas if they stay for less than three months.

Kanthel accused the parents of children from these countries to arrange for their children to go to Germany, apply for asylum and live on welfare and in the end the parents and their relatives end up as asylum seekers in Germany too. The new rules could even require that the 600,000 children of immigrant workers who were born and grew up in Germany, have to apply for their own permit to stay in Germany.