Andreas Wüst, a German immigration official, discusses the refugee crisis in Germany in Goldwin Smith Hall on Monday.

Kevin Gao / Staff Photographer

Andreas Wüst, a German immigration official, discusses the refugee crisis in Germany in Goldwin Smith Hall on Monday.

May 2, 2016

German Immigration Official Discusses Refugee Crisis

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Andreas Wüst — a fellow at the Ministry for Integration of the Government of Baden-Württemberg, Germany — discussed how the refugee crisis continues to shape Germany’s immigration and integration policies in a lecture Monday.

Approaching the topic as a social scientist rather than a politician or civil servant, Wüst called the year 2015 “the Year of Refugees” in Germany due to its influx of approximately one million refugees.

Wüst outlined the pressure put on Spain, Italy, Greece and other Southern and Southeastern members of the European Union to accept refugees. He also detailed German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s motivation for accepting refugees in August 2015.

“It could … be that [Merkel’s] own experience in East Germany played a role, because the idea of building up fences and of not letting people in is certainly a very critical issue for all the people that have ever been locked up in the Eastern Bloc,” Wüst said.

Wüst addressed Merkel’s Christian values, her strategic motivation to drive other European countries to take refugees and the limited policy options.

“Germany and its chancellor became a symbol of freedom and solidarity in the Western world,” Wüst said.

Wüst discussed many problems experienced in Germany and other countries as a result of the refugee crisis, including the backlog of asylum applications, unemployment, resentment and bigotry experienced by refugees.

“We have a high proportion of Muslim refugees, which can be a challenge for integration,” he said. “Over half of the German population thinks that Islam does not belong [in] Germany.”

More language courses for refugees and a systematic assessment of refugees’ qualifications to allow them to participate in the workforce and vocational training may be useful in assisting with integration, according to Wüst.

“Integration is probably not a one-way street, so we also have to [get] the native population on board,” he said. “And integration at first should not only be on the immigrants but also on the population that is already living in Germany.”

Wüst pointed out that interpersonal interactions between native Germans and refugees would bring the issues of suffering and hardship to the forefront of the dialogue and personalize these issues.

He added that he is optimistic the German labor market will benefit from the influx of people.

“We should intensify dialogue,” Wüst said. “We should … confront the public and the citizens [with the fact] that there are people suffering and there’s an opportunity for us to help. I’m quite optimistic that … looking at the age composition, we will be able to gain in the medium and in the long run from the refugees that have arrived.”

The lecture was co-sponsored by the Cornell Institute for European Studies and the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies, which has been bringing foreign policy speakers to Cornell for 10 years.

The series aims to enable distinguished scholars and policymakers to impart wisdom and knowledge of current issues onto the Cornell community, according to Hirokazu Miyazaki, director of the Einaudi Center and John S. Knight Professor of International Studies.

  • Arafat

    No mention of this?


    According to a classified document, the German government now estimates that Germany will receive as many as 1.5 million asylum seekers in 2015, including 920,000 in the last quarter of 2015 alone. With family reunifications, the actual number of asylum seekers could swell to more than 7 million. Separately, German authorities now estimate that at least 290,000 migrants and refugees have entered the country without being registered.

    “The behavior of these highly delinquent youths towards police officers can be characterized as aggressive, disrespectful and condescending. … When they are arrested, they resist and assault [police officers]. The youths have no respect for state institutions.” — Confidential report, leaked to Die Welt.

    In Berlin, a classified police report revealed that a dozen Arab clans hold reign over the city’s criminal underworld. The report says the clans, which are dedicated to dealing drugs, robbing banks and burglarizing department stores, run a “parallel justice system” in which they resolve disputes among themselves with mediators from other crime families. If the state gets involved, the clans use cash payments or threats of violence to influence witnesses.

    “For years the policy has been to leave the population in the dark about the actual crime situation… The citizens are being played for fools.” — André Schulz, head of the Association of Criminal Police.

    According to the President of the German Police Union, “In Berlin or in the north of Duisburg there are neighborhoods where colleagues hardly dare to stop a car — because they know that they’ll be surrounded by 40 or 50 men.” These attacks amount to a “deliberate challenge to the authority of the state — attacks in which the perpetrators are expressing their contempt for our society.”

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    The surge in Germany’s Muslim population — propelled by a wave of migration unprecedented since the Second World War — represents a demographic shift of epic proportions, one that critics of the country’s open-door immigration policy warn will change the face of Germany forever.

    “There are 20 million refugees waiting at the doorstep of Europe.” — Johannes Hahn, EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations.

    According to Aiman Mazyek, head of the Central Council of Muslims in Germany, attendance at many mosques has doubled in the past month alone.

    A large number (40%) are from countries in the Balkans, including Albania and Kosovo. This implies that nearly half of those arriving in Germany are economic migrants, not refugees fleeing war zones. — Thomas De Maizière, German Interior Minister.

    Muslim men residing in Germany routinely take advantage of the social welfare system by bringing two, three or four women from across the Muslim world to Germany, and then marrying them in the presence of an imam. Once in Germany the women request social welfare benefits, including the cost of a separate home for themselves and for their children, on the claim of being a “single parent with children.” — From an exposé broadcast by RTL television.

    “For us today, what is at stake is Europe, the lifestyle of European citizens, European values, the survival or disappearance of European nations, and more precisely formulated, their transformation beyond recognition. Today, the question is not merely in what kind of a Europe we would like to live, but whether everything we understand as Europe will exist at all.” — Viktor Orbán, President of Hungary.

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    A mob of a thousand men of “Arab or North African” origin sexually assaulted more than 500 German women in downtown Cologne on New Year’s Eve. Similar attacks also occurred in Hamburg and Stuttgart. Cologne’s Mayor Henriette Reker, said that “under no circumstances” should the crimes be attributed to asylum seekers. Instead, she blamed the victims for the assaults.

    “There is nothing wrong with being proud German patriots. There is nothing wrong with wanting Germany to remain free and democratic. There is nothing wrong with preserving our own Judeo-Christian civilization. That is our duty.” — Geert Wilders, Dutch politician, addressing a rally in Dresden.

    “We are importing Islamic extremism, Arab anti-Semitism, national and ethnic conflicts of other peoples, as well as a different understanding of society and law. German security agencies are unable to deal with these imported security problems, and the resulting reactions from the German population.” — From a leaked government document, published by Die Welt.

    Germany will spend at least €17 billion ($18.3 billion) on asylum seekers in 2016 — Die Welt.

    Saudi Arabia is preparing to finance the construction of 200 new mosques in Germany to accommodate asylum seekers. — Frankfurter Allgemeine.

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    “We are importing Islamic extremism, Arab anti-Semitism, national and ethnic conflicts of other peoples, as well as a different understanding of society and law.” — From a leaked German intelligence document.

    “We need to be clear that there must be limits and quotas for immigration — we cannot save the whole world.” — Markus Söder, Finance Minister of Bavaria.

    “The migration crisis has the potential to destabilize governments, countries and the whole European continent. … What we have been facing is not a refugee crisis. This is a migratory movement composed of economic migrants, refugees and also foreign fighters” — Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

    “Meanwhile, refugees are still heading into Germany — at a rate of around 10,000 a day. … The decade after Ms. Merkel first came to power in 2005 now looks like a blessed period for Germany, in which the country was able to enjoy peace, prosperity and international respect, while keeping the troubles of the world at a safe distance. That golden era is now over.” — Gideon Rachman, Financial Times.