Immigration to Germany – Lea Thome, Germany (Journalism for Youth student)

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Immigration to Germany has become a much-discussed topic since more and more people from various countries are trying to migrate to (or look for asylum in) Germany. More people than ever are taking refuge in Europe to build a better life- most of them in Germany.
Most of these asylum-seekers are citizens of Syria, Albania, Afghanistan or Kosovo. They are seeking for a place where they can escape from the unstable future of their home countries.In the first half of 2015, 179,037 people sought asylum but just about 1.1 percent of those were finally granted it. In 86 percent of these cases, the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees did not believe that the asylum laws applied to those who were seeking it. They then advises the refugees and denied asylum-seekers to leave Germany as soon as possible but if it this not possible, those people are granted a suspension of deportation – meaning they can stay in Germany until the situation in their home country gets better and then they have to leave.

But citizens of the aforementioned countries are not the only ones trying to migrate to Germany. Many EU member states’ citizens are coming to Germany with the intent to live there. They are often former citizens of countries like Romania, Poland and Bulgaria. A total of 1,149,045 migrated to Germany in 2014 – that is almost 264,000 people more than in 2013.

Even though refugees, asylum-seekers and immigrants are trying to secure themselves a better future in Germany, they still face problems in the country they believed to be safe. Many Germans are against the huge amount of people coming to live in Germany.
The main point of contention is the Germans’ claim that immigrants are taking away jobs from local workers. Those beliefs have been proven wrong as Germany is facing a shortage of qualified workers and many immigrants can work to fill that gap.

Many Germans also believe that immigrants are more likely to commit crimes because many immigrants neither employed nor in education or training. They think that immigrants are stealing to earn their daily bread and are using violence to solve their problems.
It is believed that persons granted asylum are living off the state’s money – but immigrants pay more taxes than the welfare and support they get from the state.

As many Germans continue to believe in these myths, they are against immigrants, refugees and asylum-seekers living in Germany. To deter asylum-seekers wishing to come to Germany, citizens protest and are willing to resort to violence themselves. In the first half of 2015 there were 150 attacks on refugee accommodations; and almost as many in 2014.

The ‘successful’ immigrants who are able to settle down in Germany still face many obstacles. Most of them do not have health insurance and cannot visit hospitals or a doctor in case of an emergency. Another serious problem is that most immigrants move to a borough of a city where mostly other immigrants live, and they do not have a chance to learn the German language as they are surrounded by people speaking their first language. Immigrants are also discriminated against in school and at their work places for being foreigners, for their origins and their inability to speak German well.

Despite these barriers, some German citizens welcome the asylum-seekers, refugees and immigrants by donating and volunteering in refugee accommodations. More and more Germans are becoming aware of the situation and are trying to help. With more help, maybe the situation for asylum-seekers and immigrants will get better and German citizens, who are against immigration in Germany, will start to question all the false beliefs that they have been harbouring over the years and endeavor to help solve this issue calmly.

NOTE: This article was written by one of our Journalism for Youth students! In July 2015, United Youth Journalists hosted an online class called Journalism for Youth with our friends at CanopyLAB. We applaud the awesome work done by Lea in the course and it was a privilege to teach such great students! Learn more about the class here.

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