Burg, Waldkirch, Killer: At “refugee hotspots” the mood is changing – an algorithm should help

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Montag, 07.08.2023, 21:39

The number of asylum seekers in Germany continues to rise, and many municipalities are reaching their breaking point. This fuels the debate about border security, further isolation and access restrictions for refugees. What is the situation in the country and what solutions are there.

Germany is apparently reaching its limits in many places. Municipalities and refugee workers have been sounding the alarm for months. While some places are coping with the situation despite the strong influx of refugees, others can no longer guarantee admission. Anger and frustration are spreading in some communities as a result.

Most of the time there is a lack of money and accommodation. According to the authorities, the number of asylum applications in Germany has increased by more than 73 percent in the past four months compared to the previous year.

A look across the borders shows how much the situation has changed in recent years. Last year, the number of refugees (worldwide) reached a record 103 million. This corresponds to a doubling since 2013. Last year alone, the number rose by almost 14 million. Main cause: the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine.

244,000 asylum applications in Germany in 2022

More than a million refugees from Ukraine have already come to Germany. In 2022, more than 244,000 asylum applications were made, including around 71,000 from Syria, 36,000 from Afghanistan, 24,000 from Turkey and 15,000 from Iraq. Overall, that is 28 percent more applications than in 2021. Compared to 2020, the number has even doubled.

According to a survey by the ARD magazine Report Mainz among all 400 urban and rural districts (around half responded), 69 percent stated that they were just about able to cope with the influx. However, 17 percent stated that they were already overwhelmed.

The problems in German municipalities are piling up

What that means in detail is particularly clear in some places. For example in Killer, a village in the Swabian Jura in Baden-Württemberg. Here the conflict has already flared up. The issue of taking in refugees causes a heated argument.

“The atmosphere was poisoned,” said District Administrator Günther-Martin Pauli (CDU) after an information event in Killer a few days ago. The anger and concerns of many citizens are documented in a video that was uploaded to the YouTube platform. Pauli: “I’ve never experienced anything like it. Nobody may be booed, insulted, shouted at or threatened.”

According to the district, there are already 15 refugees in the so-called follow-up accommodation in the 600-inhabitant village. Up to 40 could be accommodated in total. However, the district expects that another 200 to 300 refugees will be assigned to temporary accommodation by the end of the year. There is strong protest against this.

SPD fire letter from Burg to the SPD Federal Chancellor

The situation is similar in Burg, a town in Saxony-Anhalt. Here, too, one comes up against the limits of the absorption and supply capacities. The situation is already so precarious that the SPD mayor Philipp Stark and the city council chairman Markus Kurz (CDU) felt compelled to write a joint fire letter to Chancellor Scholz (SPD). “In the past few months, we have increasingly reached the limits of our receptivity,” they write.

The letter goes on to say that the integration since the first wave of refugees has not been fully successful to date. There is also a lack of money and teachers. The authors warn the federal government that its asylum policy is finding less and less acceptance among the people of Burg. People do not understand why the services for refugees are not provided in kind. Added to this is the growing budget deficit. And the city cannot rent any more buildings to house asylum seekers and other refugees.

Overwhelmed infrastructure in Waldkirch

In Waldkirch, Baden-Württemberg, there is also resistance to the distribution of refugees – also from the ranks of the SPD. As reported by the ” Badische Zeitung “, the local SPD association in Waldkirch, the municipal parliamentary group and SPD member of the Bundestag Johannes Fechner criticized the accommodation of more than 500 refugees in a joint press release. It says that there is great potential for conflict.

The reasons: The refugees are “together in a very small space without leisure activities or schooling for the children.” According to the regional council, it is dependent on voluntary help for leisure and educational offers – but that would “overwhelm the voluntary structures in Waldkirch,” writes the SPD . In addition, such a large facility overwhelms the infrastructure in Waldkirch.

“The state initial reception facilities were set up in larger cities for good reasons,” it continues. “When so many, presumably mostly younger men, live together in a small space with the condition that they are not allowed to leave the district, the experiences from other institutions show that there are conflicts and violations of the law.” That is why the SPD demands in its paper to divide the people into several smaller ones.

Refugee helpers in Dachau sound the alarm

Another call for help comes from Bavaria, from the district of Dachau. District Administrator Stefan Löwl (CSU) no longer knows what to do with the many refugees. “We simply don’t have any more resources for accommodation, at least not adequate ones,” the CSU politician told the “Tagesschau”.

In 2016 there were still around 1000 helpers in the district. Today there are only 100. The refugee helper and chairman of the Bavarian Helpers’ Association Joachim Jacob, who has been active in refugee aid for over ten years, told the “Tagesschau”: “Everything that was very important and that was essential for integration, that doesn’t happen anymore. The refugees are left to their own devices. There is a social explosive there that cannot be ignored either.”

Migration expert: “There has been a lack of specialist staff for a long time”

So the fuse of the people in the communities seems to be getting shorter and shorter. “Cities and communities need more support from the federal and state governments when taking in people seeking protection,” says Petra Bendel, head of the Migration, Flight and Integration (MFI) research department at the Institute for Political Science at the Friedrich-Alexander University of Erlangen-Nuremberg, im Conversation with FOCUS online. “There is no doubt that the municipalities are heavily challenged with the care of these people – in many places even overwhelmed.”

The tasks facing the cities and municipalities are diverse and will keep them busy for years to come. “It’s not just about adequate initial care, but also about long-term integration – access to housing and health services, language courses, daycare and schooling, and the job market,” says Bendel.

This is exactly where the problem lies: “Your own four walls, reliable childcare, high-quality schooling or simply an appointment for advice at the job center soon – these services have become rare in Germany anyway. There has been a lack of specialist staff for a long time.” This is a mammoth task for the municipalities, which they cannot master alone, despite the support of the many volunteers, migrant organizations, charities and the private sector.

Expert demands examination of the support of the municipalities by the federal and state governments

Despite good preparatory work in recent years, there is a lack of a structure with which the important integration work on site can be institutionalized more reliably and in the long term, says Bendel and calls for permanent and reliable support for the municipalities to be examined by the federal and state governments. “Because local integration work creates social cohesion and thus also supports the development of a crisis-resistant, diverse population.”

“Many municipalities can and want to have a say when it comes to shaping the participation of all citizens in social life,” says the migration expert. Studies have already shown that. “The municipalities bring the necessary innovation and integration potential with them – both in the area of ​​​​the integration of refugees and of foreign specialists.” What they need for this are “flexible but reliable financing commitments and a sufficiently large number of staff”. In order to further promote this potential, they should not be left alone now.

Algorithm can improve integration processes enormously

One of the biggest problems at present is the need-based distribution of those seeking protection by the federal states. “Usually quotas are used,” explains Bendel. The individual requirements of those seeking protection and the conditions in the receiving municipalities are only taken into account in exceptional cases.

This is exactly where the pilot project “Match’In” from the FAU Erlangen-Nuremberg and the University of Hildesheim with the participation of the states of Lower Saxony, North Rhine-Westphalia, Hesse and Rhineland-Palatinate comes into play. Based on findings from integration research, the universities and the federal states are developing an algorithm that records the individual aspects of those seeking protection and checks which municipality best suits the respective needs.

“This ensures informed administrative decisions, more efficient use of integration measures on site and gives refugees the best possible start in their new lives in Germany. If this method proves its worth, it would also be suitable for large areas,” Bendel says, hoping for a medium-term solution.

Source: https://www.focus.de/perspektiven/wut-und-frustration-an-diesen-fluechtlings-hotspots-kippt-die-stimmung-ein-algorithmus-soll-helfen_id_201173408.html

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