Nearly one in four residents in Germany now come from migrant backgrounds, as almost 200,000 migrants gain the right to reunite with their families through chain migration.
According to new figures released by the Germany Federal Statistical Office, the number of Germans with a migration background increased by 4.4 percent in 2017 to a total of 19.3 million people — or 23.6 percent of the total population of the country, Die Welt reports.
The German government recognizes anyone as having at least one non-German parent as coming from a migration background. It released further details showing that 49 percent do not carry a German passport, up from 42 percent in 2011.
The largest ethnic group of the 19.3 million people are those from a Turkish background at 2.8 million, followed by 2.1 million individuals of Polish background, and 1.4 million Russians.
Another study of languages spoken in the home showed that over 10 percent of the 24 million multi-person households in Germany spoke a first language that was not German. The most spoken language, 17 percent of the total, was Turkish, followed by Russian, Polish, and Arabic.
As of August 1st, the new family reunification laws in Germany will come into effect, opening up the possibility for some 192,000 asylum seekers, 133,000 of which are Syrian nationals, to bring their family members to Germany.
In the case of underage asylum seekers, they will be able to bring their parents; in the case of adults, they will be eligible to bring their wives or husbands as well as any underage children.
While many migrants may be eligible for the programme, they may have to wait to bring their families to Germany as the government has only established 5,000 candidates for reunification by the end of the year and a further 1,000 per month from January of 2019.
The demographics of Germany have rapidly changed, largely due to mass migration, in many areas of the country like the city of Frankfurt where it was revealed last year that native Germans had become an ethnic minority for the first time.
In 2016, figures showed that the number of migration-background residents in Germany was even more pronounced in younger age groups, with 40 percent of under-fives having migrant origins.
In the same year, the German population grew by 346,000, driven primarily by mass migration.
Meanwhile in Germany, German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling Christian Democratic Union (CDU) and its longtime Bavarian political partner, the Christian Social Union (CSU), are locked in a struggle over German immigration policy that could, if not resolved, lead to the fall of the Merkel government.
These differences are also evident among backers of the two parties, according to a recent Pew Research Center survey.
Both CDU (76%) and CSU (81%) adherents believe it is necessary for immigrants to adopt German customs and traditions, according to the survey, conducted among 1,983 German adults in late 2017. However, differences emerge when those who identify with the two conservative parties are asked about the impact of immigrants on German society.
Nearly seven-in-ten CSU supporters (68%) say immigrants increase the risk of terrorist attacks in Germany, compared with 47% of CDU backers. Similarly, 27% of those who identify with the CSU voice the view that immigrants are a burden on the German economy, but just 13% of CDU supporters feel the same way.
The current stalemate between the parties stems from a dispute between Merkel and Horst Seehofer, the government minister who oversees immigration, leader of the CSU and former minister president of Bavaria. Merkel wants a European Union-wide agreement on immigration policy, while Seehofer wants to turn away migrants at Germany’s border if they have registered as migrants elsewhere in the EU.
The CDU and CSU have called a truce to their current public squabbling, giving the Merkel government until July 1 to come up with a plan to share with other EU member states the burden of dealing with the immigrant population.
One reason why this power struggle within the German conservative coalition has emerged now may be that Bavaria holds a state election in October. The CSU may fear being outflanked by the upstart, far-right Alternative for Germany party (AfD). Germans who have a favorable view of AfD are much more likely than everyone else to believe that immigrants pose a threat of terrorism, and more than four-in-ten of those who favor AfD say immigrants are a burden on the German economy, according to the recent survey by the Center.
James E Windsor, Overpasses News Desk
August 3rd, 2018