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World Germany's diversity shows as immigrants run for parliament

10:05  22 september  2021
10:05  22 september  2021 Source:   msn.com

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A third of all children born in Germany belong to immigrant families, but many immigrants are poorly integrated into German society. A new study has shown that Turks in particular are faring poorly in Germany . A new study has delivered a damning verdict on the integration of Germany ' s immigrants , concluding that an alarmingly high percentage of them live in a parallel world with poor prospects of a decent education and career advancement. New research shows that Turkish immigrants in Germany still have a long way to go.

Now that Germany has become a popular destination for immigrants , the subject has gained exposure and traction, but the political correctness involved also has a concealing effect. Immigration has been perceived as problem for a long time. Discussions about Germany becoming an immigrant country always revolved around old adages about the fear of foreign infiltration, fear about the growing burden on the welfare state and vague concerns about crime rising with immigration .

BERLIN (AP) — Ana-Maria Trasnea was 13 when she emigrated from Romania because her single, working mother believed she would have a better future in Germany. Now 27, she is running for a seat in parliament.

File - In this Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019 file photo German lawmakers attend a special parliament session at the Reichstag building, host of the German federal parliament, Bundestag, in Berlin, Germany, to celebrate 100 years of women's suffrage in Germany. Hundreds of immigrants are running in Germany's national election on Sunday, raising the possibility of making its next parliament more diverse than ever. While it still might not fully represent the country's overall diversity, where more than a quarter of the population has immigrant roots, it's a step toward a more accurate reflection of society. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber,File) © Provided by Associated Press File - In this Thursday, Jan. 17, 2019 file photo German lawmakers attend a special parliament session at the Reichstag building, host of the German federal parliament, Bundestag, in Berlin, Germany, to celebrate 100 years of women's suffrage in Germany. Hundreds of immigrants are running in Germany's national election on Sunday, raising the possibility of making its next parliament more diverse than ever. While it still might not fully represent the country's overall diversity, where more than a quarter of the population has immigrant roots, it's a step toward a more accurate reflection of society. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber,File)

“It was hard in Germany in the beginning,” Trasnea said in an interview with The Associated Press. “But I was ambitious and realized that this was an opportunity for me, so I decided to do whatever I can to get respect and integrate.”

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Germany is short of nurses, care workers, construction workers, carpenters, electricians, and IT specialists, and businesses have long been demanding that the government make it easier for skilled workers, including those from outside the European Union, to move to Germany — notwithstanding a political climate that has become toxic for many immigrants . But, as immigration experts pointed out, instituting a law is only helpful if you have the bureaucratic resources, not to mention the bureaucratic will, to implement it. Processing visa applications has become a major issue, experts

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Trasnea, who is running for the center-left Social Democrats in Sunday's election, is one of hundreds of candidates with immigrant roots who are seeking a seat in Germany's lower house of parliament, or Bundestag. While the number in office still doesn't reflect their overall percentage of the population, the country's growing ethnic diversity is increasingly visible in politics.

“A lot has changed in Germany in the last few decades. The population has become much more diverse,” says Julius Lagodny, a Cornell University political scientist who has researched migration and political representation in Germany. “Young immigrants are not only striving for political offices across almost all parties in Germany, they are demanding them. There's a whole new sense of assertiveness now.”

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It is visible from Germany , where the AfD has become the biggest opposition party in the Bundestag, to Spain, where Vox has become the third largest force in parliament . In part, voters are frustrated with the political establishment, but they also have concerns about globalisation, immigration , a dilution In 2017 the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) entered the federal parliament for the first time with 12.6% of the vote, becoming Germany ' s biggest opposition party. From its beginnings as an anti-euro party, it has pushed for strict anti- immigration policies, embraced hostility towards Islam and broken

The Immigration and Naturalization Act of 1965, also known as the Hart-Celler Act, abolished an earlier quota system based on national origin and established a new immigration policy based on reuniting immigrant families and attracting skilled labor to the United States. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, large numbers of people from northern and western Europe traveled in overcrowded ships to immigrate to the United States. They arrived to escape famine and religious discrimination, to buy farmland and cash in on the read more.

File - In this Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013 file photo, dark clouds hang over the Reichstag, the German parliament Bundestag building, in Berlin. Hundreds of immigrants are running in Germany's national election on Sunday, raising the possibility of making its next parliament more diverse than ever. While it still might not fully represent the country's overall diversity, where more than a quarter of the population has immigrant roots, it's a step toward a more accurate reflection of society. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, File) © Provided by Associated Press File - In this Tuesday, Aug. 20, 2013 file photo, dark clouds hang over the Reichstag, the German parliament Bundestag building, in Berlin. Hundreds of immigrants are running in Germany's national election on Sunday, raising the possibility of making its next parliament more diverse than ever. While it still might not fully represent the country's overall diversity, where more than a quarter of the population has immigrant roots, it's a step toward a more accurate reflection of society. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber, File)

There are about 21.3 million people with migrant backgrounds in Germany, or about 26% of the population of 83 million.

The current parliament has 8.2%, or 58 of 709 lawmakers with immigrant roots. The 2013-17 parliament had only 5.9%, or 37 out of 631 lawmakers, according to Mediendienst Integration, an organization tracking migrant issues in Germany.

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Installations like Cheyenne Mountain are integral to the US government’ s plan to survive a doomsday scenario. In the event of an existential threat to the US, a nuclear attack for instance, the president and his officials, as well as a contingent of political, military and civilian leaders would be immediately evacuated to four secure facilities to run the country from deep underground. These facilities are Cheyenne Mountain, the Presidential Emergency Operations Center under the White House, Raven Rock Mountain Complex in Pennsylvania, and Mount Weather Emergency Operations Center in

Germany can - if structured and implemented based on long term concepts- motivate immigrants . to feel a stronger cultural connection to their host country without weakening Germany ’ s . existing culture and traditional value system. multiculturalism in Germany . It is important to note that it was not until recently that popular. discourse began to acknowledge the reality that Germany has not been a mono-ethnic society for. decades. A politically re-structured aim of wanting to integrate rather than assimilate immigrants .

Of the 6,227 candidates running for parliament, 537 have immigrant roots, said Julia Schulte-Cloos, a political scientist from Munich’s Ludwig Maximilian University specializing in political behavior and discrimination of minorities in Germany and Europe.

Canan Bayram a German-Kurdish lawyer who was elected to the Bundestag in 2017 for the Green party and run for a second term at the upcoming elections, pose for a photo in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021. Hundreds of immigrants are running in Germany's national election on Sunday, raising the possibility of making its next parliament more diverse than ever. While it still might not fully represent the country's overall diversity, where more than a quarter of the population has immigrant roots, it's a step toward a more accurate reflection of society. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber) © Provided by Associated Press Canan Bayram a German-Kurdish lawyer who was elected to the Bundestag in 2017 for the Green party and run for a second term at the upcoming elections, pose for a photo in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021. Hundreds of immigrants are running in Germany's national election on Sunday, raising the possibility of making its next parliament more diverse than ever. While it still might not fully represent the country's overall diversity, where more than a quarter of the population has immigrant roots, it's a step toward a more accurate reflection of society. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Schulte-Cloos said the share of Bundestag candidates with immigrant roots has risen continuously since 2005.

Even though the number elected to parliament is expected to rise again this time, it will still fall short of 26% of Germany's population with what is officially termed a “migrant background” — defined as a person either born abroad or with at least one parent who was.

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In Berlin, where about 35% of residents have foreign roots, immigrant candidates for Bundestag can be found in many parties.

Joe Chialo, 51, whose parents are from Tanzania, is competing for a seat for outgoing Chancellor Angela Merkel's center-right Christian Democrats in Berlin's Spandau neighborhood. Hakan Demir, 31, whose grandfather emigrated from Turkey 50 years ago, is trying to become the Social Democrats' new lawmaker in the Neukoelln neighborhood, one of the most diverse in Germany.

Outside the capital, Ezgi Guyildar, the 35-year-old daughter of Kurdish refugees from Turkey, is running with the progressive Left Party in the western city of Essen.

Their motivations include concern over global warming, seeking more rights for women and families, raising the minimum wage and improving the status of immigrants.

All four candidates, who are seeking a seat in parliament for the first time, told AP they sometimes experienced discrimination and racism, especially as children. But they also stressed their gratitude for coming to Germany and said they appreciated the education they received, leading to opportunities they might not have had otherwise.

Canan Bayram a German-Kurdish lawyer who was elected to the Bundestag in 2017 for the Green party and run for a second term at the upcoming elections, pose for a photo in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021. Hundreds of immigrants are running in Germany's national election on Sunday, raising the possibility of making its next parliament more diverse than ever. While it still might not fully represent the country's overall diversity, where more than a quarter of the population has immigrant roots, it's a step toward a more accurate reflection of society. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber) © Provided by Associated Press Canan Bayram a German-Kurdish lawyer who was elected to the Bundestag in 2017 for the Green party and run for a second term at the upcoming elections, pose for a photo in Berlin, Germany, Tuesday, Sept. 21, 2021. Hundreds of immigrants are running in Germany's national election on Sunday, raising the possibility of making its next parliament more diverse than ever. While it still might not fully represent the country's overall diversity, where more than a quarter of the population has immigrant roots, it's a step toward a more accurate reflection of society. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)

Chialo, a music industry manager tapped by Merkel's would-be successor, Armin Laschet, as one of his advisers, is the son of Tanzanian diplomats. He was born in Bonn and raised in boarding schools after his parents went on to other diplomatic duties abroad.

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"In the beginning, my brother and I were the only two Black kids at a school with 1,000 students," Chialo said. “The sentence, 'Oh look, there's a Negro,' tells you how unusual we and also many other Black people of my age were at the time in Germany.”

Trasnea, who works for Berlin's education department and is running in the city’s Koepenick-Treptow district, can't forget how other teenagers in high school threw stones at her and accused her of coming to Germany only to collect welfare.

Guyildar remembers how kids had snitched on her and other children for speaking Turkish in the schoolyard, which was not allowed. Demir is still embarrassed when he remembers lying to classmates from academic families that his father was a chemical technician, ashamed of his real job as an unskilled worker at a chemical company.

As an adult living in the ethnically diverse Berlin neighborhood of Neukoelln, Demir sees political advantages in his background.

“People from more than 150 nations live in this district — it's a great mix and very diverse,” said Demir, who previously worked for another immigrant lawmaker, Karamba Diaby. “Of course, when I notice somebody wants to speak Turkish, I do that and that right away creates a kind of intimacy which is important during the election campaign. It makes people feel involved.”

Joe Chialo, whose parents are from Tanzania, candidate of the German Christian Democratic Union, CDU, party for the federal elections, smiles during an interview with the Associated Press in his election district in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021. Hundreds of immigrants are running in Germany's national election on Sunday, raising the possibility of making its next parliament more diverse than ever. While it still might not fully represent the country's overall diversity, where more than a quarter of the population has immigrant roots, it's a step toward a more accurate reflection of society. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn) © Provided by Associated Press Joe Chialo, whose parents are from Tanzania, candidate of the German Christian Democratic Union, CDU, party for the federal elections, smiles during an interview with the Associated Press in his election district in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021. Hundreds of immigrants are running in Germany's national election on Sunday, raising the possibility of making its next parliament more diverse than ever. While it still might not fully represent the country's overall diversity, where more than a quarter of the population has immigrant roots, it's a step toward a more accurate reflection of society. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

More than 60 years ago, West Germany recruited “guest workers” from Turkey, Italy, Greece and later Morocco to help the country advance economically. They were employed in coal mining, steel production and the auto industry. Many who initially came as temporary workers decided to stay and bring their families, giving Berlin and other cities in western and southwestern Germany large immigrant communities.

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Others followed in subsequent decades: people from Russia or Kazakhstan who could claim German ancestry; refugees from Lebanon's civil war; Jews from the former Soviet Union; and Eastern Europeans who took advantage of the free movement within the European Union. From 2005-2016, another wave of more than 1 million arrived, fleeing war in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

About 7.4 million migrant adults have German passports and are eligible to vote Sunday, according to 2019 figures from the Federal Statistical Office. Many often don't vote, however, and therefore are underrepresented in parliament. Another 8.7 million adults living permanently in Germany can't vote because they don't have German citizenship.

Joe Chialo, whose parents are from Tanzania, a candidate of the German Christian Democratic Union, CDU, party for the federal elections, speaks during an interview with the Associated Press in his election district in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021. Hundreds of immigrants are running in Germany's national election on Sunday, raising the possibility of making its next parliament more diverse than ever. While it still might not fully represent the country's overall diversity, where more than a quarter of the population has immigrant roots, it's a step toward a more accurate reflection of society. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn) © Provided by Associated Press Joe Chialo, whose parents are from Tanzania, a candidate of the German Christian Democratic Union, CDU, party for the federal elections, speaks during an interview with the Associated Press in his election district in Berlin, Germany, Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021. Hundreds of immigrants are running in Germany's national election on Sunday, raising the possibility of making its next parliament more diverse than ever. While it still might not fully represent the country's overall diversity, where more than a quarter of the population has immigrant roots, it's a step toward a more accurate reflection of society. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

Germany doesn't allow dual citizenship, except for nationals of other EU countries and Switzerland. That's a dilemma for many first generation immigrants who still have close ties to their home countries and don't want to give up their old passport — either for emotional reasons or out of fear they could lose inheritance rights or property in the countries of their birth.

Allowing dual citizenship is one issue Guyildar wants to fight for, if elected.

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“I can feel close to Turkey, have my grandmother living there, and still consider Germany my homeland," she said. “There's nothing wrong about dual citizenship — on the contrary."

Ana-Maria Trasnea emigrated from Romania and candidate of the German Social Democrats, SPD, for the federal elections smiles during an interview with the Associated Press in her election district in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021. Hundreds of immigrants are running in Germany's national election on Sunday, raising the possibility of making its next parliament more diverse than ever. While it still might not fully represent the country's overall diversity, where more than a quarter of the population has immigrant roots, it's a step toward a more accurate reflection of society. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn) © Provided by Associated Press Ana-Maria Trasnea emigrated from Romania and candidate of the German Social Democrats, SPD, for the federal elections smiles during an interview with the Associated Press in her election district in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021. Hundreds of immigrants are running in Germany's national election on Sunday, raising the possibility of making its next parliament more diverse than ever. While it still might not fully represent the country's overall diversity, where more than a quarter of the population has immigrant roots, it's a step toward a more accurate reflection of society. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

Sometimes, however, not having a German passport isn't the only barrier to running for office or even voting. First-generation immigrants, in particular, often are more focused on politics in their former countries.

“There's sometimes this barrier caused by discrimination or also by closed migrant societies here, in which the parents or grandparents are more interested in what's happening in the home countries than in the current politics here," says Canan Bayram, 55, a German-Kurdish lawyer who was elected to the Bundestag in 2017 for the Green party.

Ana-Maria Trasnea, front right, emigrated from Romania and candidate of the German Social Democrats, SPD, for the federal elections dances during a street party in her election district in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021. Hundreds of immigrants are running in Germany's national election on Sunday, raising the possibility of making its next parliament more diverse than ever. While it still might not fully represent the country's overall diversity, where more than a quarter of the population has immigrant roots, it's a step toward a more accurate reflection of society. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn) © Provided by Associated Press Ana-Maria Trasnea, front right, emigrated from Romania and candidate of the German Social Democrats, SPD, for the federal elections dances during a street party in her election district in Berlin, Germany, Saturday, Sept. 18, 2021. Hundreds of immigrants are running in Germany's national election on Sunday, raising the possibility of making its next parliament more diverse than ever. While it still might not fully represent the country's overall diversity, where more than a quarter of the population has immigrant roots, it's a step toward a more accurate reflection of society. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

Bayram believes, however, that will change as more immigrants run for office.

“I think it is only another small step, and in 10 years we won't even talk about these topics that intensively any more because the new generation now is clearly forward looking and has found their center of life in Germany,” she said.

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Follow AP’s coverage of Germany’s election at https://apnews.com/hub/germany-election

The Latest: Some German voters struggle to pick next leader .
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