Migrant organizations are amazed: from their point of view, the coalition agreement of CDU, Greens and SPD contains huge improvements.
Signed the coalition agreement on Friday: Dulig (SPD), Meier (Greens) and Kretschmer (CDU) Photo: dpa
After the state elections in Saxony at the beginning of September, they saw pitch black: With "Stay or go?" the umbrella organization of migrant organizations in eastern Germany (DaMOst) had titled its statement on the election. "We fear a further deterioration in the living conditions of people with international biographies in the new federal states," it said.
The coalition agreement of the Kenya Alliance in Saxony, at least, did not confirm these fears. With the government program of the CDU, the Greens and the SPD, which was confirmed last week, "Saxony is taking a big step toward a diversity-conscious society," praises the umbrella organization of Saxon migrant organizations (DSM), which is a member of DaMOst.
In fact, the Greens had to make fewer concessions to the CDU on asylum and integration than many had expected in light of the shift to the right. The agreement bears their signature in many passages – and takes up demands from civil society.
For example, there is to be a new violence protection concept for particularly vulnerable groups – especially women and children – in the shelters. A medical and psychological clearing procedure is to clarify who needs special support as early as the registration stage.
Since August, the federal government’s "Orderly Return Act" has provided for mandatory procedural counseling for asylum seekers. However, according to the law, this can also be offered by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (Bamf) itself. Asylum organizations had strongly criticized this because of the lack of independence of the Bamf advisors. The Kenya coalition in Saxony has now committed itself: The "independent counseling by the welfare associations" has "proven itself" and is to be "consolidated," the coalition agreement says. This probably means that the state will give money so that refugees can be advised by truly independent agencies instead of the Bamf, which is also responsible for the asylum procedure.
Refugee children are to attend school from the fourth month of their stay in Saxony. What sounds like a matter of course is not: In the Bavarian "anchor centers," for example, most refugee children are denied regular classes.
The "home inspectorate," which monitors the accommodations, is supposed to take a more "affected person’s" perspective. In any case, refugees are to be moved "quickly" from the large shelters to decentralized, communal accommodation.
Finally, the state government wants to advocate a "change of track" for rejected asylum seekers – they should be given the right to stay in Germany if they can earn a living for themselves and their family and speak sufficient German. Detention pending deportation in penal prisons is ruled out by the Kenya coalition, and "humanitarian" residence rights for hardship cases are to be strengthened.
A few blanks
Not everything is formulated in absolute terms; there are many formulations such as "strive for" or "shall". But overall, the coalition agreement is anything but a catalog of atrocities.
"All three coalition parties have welcomed us with open arms, listened to us and included key demands of ours in the coalition agreement," says Kanwal Sethi from the umbrella organization of Saxon migrant organizations. The demands for accelerated recognition of educational qualifications acquired abroad and for an independent ombudsperson at the Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs to whom those affected by discrimination can turn were taken into account, for example.
There is a gap in political participation for migrants. There is nothing in the coalition agreement about intercultural opening in the administration, about foreigners’ and migrants’ advisory councils at the municipal level, or about equal health care for refugees. "There we expect even clearer commitments," says Tatjana Jurk of the DSM.
Even during the negotiations, the Saxon Refugee Council (Sachsischer Fluchtlingsrat, SFR) wrote that some agreements "give cause for optimism." One of the most important demands will be met: If an education toleration is in prospect, but the education has not yet begun, then the persons concerned should be safe from deportation until then. With regard to the right to educate children from the fourth month of residence, however, the "Ministry of the Interior can continue to act quite freely," wrote the SFR. The SFR also does not yet believe in the "turnaround towards decentralized accommodation and away from the camp policy" due to the lack of concrete steps – and continues to miss a deportation stop to Afghanistan.