What are the most common mistakes made in debates

Debate about refugees and immigration : From the myth of quick solutions

New suggestions are made every day as to how the growing influx of asylum seekers can be countered. Most of them aim to prevent people from coming to Germany. Can it work? And is Germany really overwhelmed when, as predicted, more than 400,000 asylum seekers arrive in 2015? Myths and truths about the asylum debate.

Resolute policies can halt the influx of migrants.

The US is continually strengthening its southern border with Mexico - and yet hundreds of thousands of Central and South Americans cross illegally every year. For hundreds of millions of euros, Europe surrounds itself with “smart borders” such as the Eurosur border surveillance system and builds border fences - but the result always remains the same: People who, for whatever reason, are sufficiently determined to leave their home, set out the way. All defense only increases their risk of not surviving the escape.

Besides those who come because they promise a better life or a way out of a miserable one - motive for example of the European mass emigration to America in the 19th and 20th centuries - or because wars force them to flee. Take Syria, for example: between 2011 and July 2015, around 121,000 Syrian citizens came to Germany. In the previous five years there were only 4,327 in total. In between there were no incentives, higher social benefits for them or otherwise better conditions in Germany, but simply dramatically worse ones in their homeland: there has been a war in Syria since 2011. And the upward curve of asylum applications from people from Syria reflects nothing other than the increasingly desperate situation there.

If the Balkan states are declared safe countries of origin, the abuse of asylum can be contained.

Almost 100 percent of all asylum applications from applicants from the Western Balkans are negative. That is why it is being discussed how the influx of people from this region can be stopped. CSU politicians, but also the SPD Mayor of Hamburg, Olaf Scholz, are calling for Kosovo, Albania and Montenegro to be declared safe countries of origin. Serbia, Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina have been considered such since November 2014.

The example of Serbia shows, however, that the classification hardly prevents people from coming to Germany. According to the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees, a total of 17,200 Serbs applied for asylum in Germany in 2014; in the first six months of 2015, after the country had been declared a safe country of origin, around 10,100 Serbs came to Germany.

The requested reintroduction of the visa requirement for Serbia is unlikely to change anything. That is shown by the case of Kosovo. Although the country still requires a visa, the number of asylum seekers from there skyrocketed in early 2015. In March alone, 11,150 Kosovars applied for asylum in Germany. In the meantime, however, the number has decreased to around 1,400 applications per month. This was not achieved through formal entry restrictions, but through an information campaign in Kosovo about the right of asylum in Germany.

If the smuggling gangs are stopped, no more refugees die.

The European Union has declared war on the smugglers in North Africa, but it is highly questionable whether it will actually take action against the criminal gangs. The chances of success are low anyway. It is not without reason that the smugglers operate primarily in the civil war country of Libya, where interventions would be extremely dangerous.

Smugglers are also flexible and can move their bases to other stretches of coast in a short time. And the boat builders who glue simple rubber tarpaulins together in the hinterland are pulling along with them. The refugees will also adapt quickly. Escape routes are communicated today via Facebook. Business simply follows the principle: Where there is demand, there is also an offer. In other words: as long as people want to Europe, there will be smugglers.

Investments in the countries of origin keep people in their homeland.

The Federal Republic of Germany has been providing development aid all over the world since it was founded. In view of the large number of refugees from African countries and the people who are drowning in the Mediterranean Sea from Africa, development cooperation should be further intensified. If prosperity grows, people will stay where they are, according to the calculation. In fact, only in a few cases has it been possible to lift states out of poverty through development aid. Because corruption, but also unfair trading conditions, inhibit economic development.

In a study published by the OECD Development Center a few years ago, the researchers pointed to the time factor. For development aid to improve conditions, it takes a lot of it - too much for a human life. Then people would rather move away. That development aid would limit migration flows was a "false hope". It is often not the poorest of the poor who make it to the global north. Conversely, however, migrants acted as development workers in their home regions - through the money they earned and sent home, as well as through the skills and contacts they received in the host country. At the time, the OECD recommended that rich countries allow migrants to commute so that contact with their homeland is not lost.

Germany cannot accept all those in need of protection in the world.

That is probably true, but the question does not arise. In fact, only a tiny fraction of refugees ever manage to leave their homeland. Here, too, the example of Syria can be used: around six million people are currently on the run there. In turn, a third of them are internally displaced; they have remained in the country. Of the four million who fled abroad, the lion's share stayed in the neighboring countries, in Jordan, Turkey or Lebanon. Only 310,000 Syrians made it to Europe, not even a fifth.

Further south, people have even fewer resources to take the dangerous route north and are forced to stay. In general, the following applies: Those who open up are usually the physically - or also socially and culturally - stronger and mostly younger people. So it is just not the really wretched who come north.

Especially the migrants from the Balkans are a burden on the social system.

Some things are paradoxical. Politicians are considering how asylum seekers from the Balkans can be deported as quickly as possible because their applications are obviously unfounded, and at the same time employment agencies are trying to bring doctors and nurses from the region to Germany for German hospitals. However, they often fail because of the German entry regulations.

In view of the “high demand” on the German labor market, the Institute for Employment Research (IAB) also recommends getting immigrants from the Balkans out of the asylum trap and offering them a job placement service instead. "The criterion should be an assessment of the long-term success of labor market integration," according to a study.

So many foreigners cannot be integrated into Germany.

Those who have escaped war or hardship are usually particularly motivated to seize their chance - how well a new start for refugees therefore depends largely on the host country. The newcomers need language courses quickly, medical help if necessary, a roof over their heads, contact with locals and the job market so that they can soon be able to stand on their own two feet. Even if the record level from the beginning of the 1990s - 438,000 asylum seekers - is reached or overtaken: At that time, their chances of integration were significantly less good because of even more restrictive laws, especially the work bans. And at that time the Federal Republic still had to shoulder German unity.

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