What is illegal but necessary

Basic dossier migration

In the border area between legality, illegality and crime, in the course of increasing immigration restrictions to Europe, new forms of migration and residence have also established themselves in Germany: the so-called uncontrolled migration, the extent of which, however, can hardly be determined. Estimates of the number of illegal stays in Germany therefore vary widely, between 100,000 and one million people without a right of residence in the Federal Republic.

Isolation and arming of the external borders

The road to common asylum and immigration law in the EU is still a long one. But as early as the 1990s, a wide range of regulations, restrictions and bans determined the pattern of legal immigration from third countries to Europe. Within these legal patterns, four forms of desirable or tolerated immigration dominate today:
  1. family reunification
  2. Traditionally privileged migration relationships (e.g. post-colonial migration, minority migrations, in Germany especially repatriates / late repatriates and Jews from the CIS)
  3. Work migrations
  4. the increasingly limited immigration of asylum seekers.
At home (& copy Wolfgang Müller for Körber Photo Award 2003)
In "Fortress Europe" and in Germany there are certainly entrances for a large number of desirable or at least tolerated migrants. At the same time, however, there is also the exclusion of a much larger number of undesirable migrants. As the downside of sealing off Europe and Germany against unwanted immigration, new forms of immigration and residence have become established in the border area between legality, illegality and crime.

Police, border protection authorities and intelligence services are cooperating more and more closely, especially when it comes to monitoring, controlling and preventing organized illegal migration. The "wet" borders of Europe are monitored by sea and from the air. At the "dry" borders in the east of the EU, a new, electronically well-equipped "Limes" has been erected, which is advancing eastwards with the EU enlargement in 2004: When Poland joins the EU, Poland's approx. 1,200 km long border will be closed its eastern neighbors Belarus, Ukraine and to the Russian enclave Kaliningrad part of the European eastern border. To safeguard against illegal immigration, people smuggling, human trafficking and smuggling activities, international cooperation between the border protection authorities is being further intensified and border controls are being decisively tightened.

Paths to illegality

The most important manifestation of illegality begins with the legal entry of men and women, e.g. as tourists, seasonal workers, business travelers, asylum seekers or refugees. Illegalization begins with taking up work without a work permit and when the residence period is exceeded ("overstayers" in the Anglophone area, "sans papiers" in the Francophone area). Or it begins with "diving down" after the rejection of the asylum application, the request to leave the country or the announcement of measures to terminate residence, commonly known as "deportation".

Less significant, but more sensational and often overestimated, is illegal, secret immigration or border crossing with forged papers, followed by illegal residence in Germany and illegal work, unannounced or registered on the basis of forged papers. In this area also operate the mostly internationally organized smuggling organizations, often linked via mafiotic networks, which are the main beneficiaries of the demarcation of Europe against unwanted immigration. There are fluid boundaries here to illegal contract trade, to modern forms of debt bondage and to human trafficking as an internationally organized capital crime, for example in the form of trafficking in women, which has increased sharply in Europe - often in overlap with relevant brokerage transactions (e.g. fraudulent job and marriage agencies) .

Extent of illegal migration

There is a lot of public discussion about illegal border crossings or stays in Germany. However, there are no even remotely reliable figures because the statistics do not show success, only failure, i.e. H. the attacks in the border area counts. Estimates are mostly based on the assumption, which comes from American practice, that on one pickup two more were undetected, i. H. Successful border crossings come ("one is caught, two pass"), although it is not possible to adequately examine the extent to which such models can be transferred to Europe due to circumstances.
On the basis of this estimate, a total of around 260,000 apprehensions at the European external borders would be assumed in 1999, for example, that the number of successful illegal border crossings or people smuggled from 1993 (approx. 50,000) to 1999 (approx. 520,000), despite constantly increasing border security more than tenfold. Calculated or estimated differently, there would have been around 780,000 attempts to illegally cross the border at the European external borders in 1999, of which only around 260,000 failed. However, relevant multiple offenses must be included, especially since migrants with sufficient financial resources or "smuggling guarantee" are brought to and across the border until the smuggling is successful.

In Germany itself, almost 38,000 people were turned away in 1999 when attempting to cross the "green" border. Assuming the same estimate, around 76,000 people would have entered illegally this year. If one also included the around 35,000 foreigners who were turned away at the regular borders, then the number of those who were not recorded would be. H. There were even an estimated 146,000 successful illegal border crossings in 1999, although, apart from the problem of multiple counts mentioned, it must be taken into account that Germany is not only a destination country for illegal migration but also a transit country (e.g. for the Netherlands). Estimates of the number of illegal stays in Germany at the end of the 1990s mostly fluctuated around the 500,000 mark, but in individual cases also ranged down to 100,000 (certainly too low) and also up to over a million (possibly too high); For Berlin alone, reasonable estimates of 50,000 to 100,000 people were under discussion.