Hundreds of Thousands of Asylum Seekers Could Soon Become Citizens

by State Brief

An MP for Germany’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU) has blasted the left-liberal ‘traffic light’ coalition’s radical new naturalization law, suggesting that it not only encourages more migration but also violates international refugee law which aims to give temporary protection to refugees—not grant quick citizenship.

The law makes migrants and asylum seekers eligible for naturalization after just three to five years of residency instead of eight, was passed by the leftist majority in the Bundestag in January and is set to come into effect in June.

Also under the new law, children born to foreign parents will now qualify for German citizenship at birth so long as one parent has been legally residing in Germany for five years instead of eight.

Restrictions on holding multiple citizenships are also being removed completely. Until the new law took effect, exemptions to the restrictions could be granted, for example to EU citizens.

Activist Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser played a key role in pushing the legislation through and described the reform as an essential part of the “modernization” of German society. She claims that it will help Germany to attract “the best minds.”

Germany’s liberal-centrist opposition sees the law in a different light, with some arguing that it will work mainly to attract many more uneducated, unskilled migrants.  

CSU regional group leader Alexander Dobrindt leveled sharp criticism of the traffic light’s law and slammed the federal government’s Commissioner for Integration Affairs for marketing the naturalization law to the Arab world.

“The traffic light citizenship law is another pull factor for illegal immigration,” he told German media. Referencing an advertisement produced by the Federal Commission for Integration Affairs he added: “The traffic light’s active promotion of dual citizenship in the Arab world will further encourage illegal immigration to Germany.”

Manuel Hagel, CDU state leader in Baden-Württemberg, echoed his colleague’s remarks, saying: “You can’t actively invite everyone who wants to become German to Germany.” Expediting the process of obtaining a passport should not be used as a “means to lure foreigners to Germany with vague promises,” he declared before demanding Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock to correct this “immediately.”

Commenting on the law and its ramifications, domestic policy expert and CDU MP Alexander Throm told the German news portal NiUS: “The traffic light government has made turbo naturalizations possible after just three years,” underscoring that with over three million asylum seekers living in Germany, “hundreds of thousands” of refugees could soon be naturalized.

Throm’s estimate of hundreds of thousands could be conservative. Over two million migrants and asylum seekers, including vast numbers of people who came to the country illegally, have been living in Germany since 2015. Under the new naturalization law, they could become Germans overnight. 

Through this law, Throm continued, the traffic light government is “not only creating another massive incentive for migration to Germany but is also breaching international refugee law” which he noted is aimed at providing “temporary residence for refugees, not rapid naturalization.”

Throm also urged the government to press the European Union to devise a plan to fairly distribute Ukrainian refugees across Europe. Germany, along with Poland, has taken in the largest number of Ukrainian refugees, he pointed out. “There are more Ukrainian refugees in Baden-Württemberg alone than in France.”

Jan-Phillip Tadsen, migration policy spokesman for the AfD parliamentary group, has previously slammed the left-liberal government’s lowering of hurdles to naturalization, arguing it amounts to an “attack on the strength of national bonds and contributes massively to the further dissolution of our shared destiny.”

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