Sunday, April 26, 2015

Coming Attractions? Refugee Surge in Germany Puts Pressure on Small Towns

Families gather at a reception center for asylum seekers 
in Schneeberg, in eastern Germany, where distrust of 
foreigners runs highest. Photo: Peter Endig/Zuma Press
Another example of where an unchecked Immigration Policy can lead:
Tensions rise as officials turn to isolated communities to shelter a growing number of asylum-seekers
This village of 114 people deep in the pine forest near the Czech border has no supermarket, no police station, and next to no public transit. But the locals learned recently that their population is set to get a dramatic boost: Government officials are converting the village’s disused forestry school into a shelter for 80 refugees.
As the German government increasingly places asylum 
seekers in small towns, police report a rise in anti-refugee 
attacks, including the arson of a shelter in the town of 
Tröglitz the day before Easter. 
Photo: Fabrizio Bensch/Reuters
“They are making asses of us all,” said longtime resident Edwin Jasmann, 71, voicing anger at the government and fear of how life in this sleepy place will change. “The crime rate will rise far above what it is now.”
A rising tide of asylum-seekers, fleeing crises in the Middle East and economic desperation in Africa and the Balkans, has pushed the ravages of far-away wars and poverty into some of western Europe’s most isolated reaches.
A Communist-era apartment block in the village of Perba, 
Germany, was converted to a shelter for asylum seekers 
earlier this year. Photo: Anton Troianovski/WSJ
Germany, with its relatively healthy economy and generous welfare safety net, is by far the most popular destination. In a preview of the challenges that could soon face the rest of Europe as the flow of refugees increases, the influx of migrants to Germany is overwhelming government authorities, fuelling right-wing movements, and forcing rural dwellers to confront new fears, prejudices, and responsibilities.
Last year, 626,065 refugees filed asylum claims in the European Union, a 44% increase from 2013. Most were Syrians, and nearly a third of the total came to Germany. An even bigger rise is likely this year amid a sharp increase in arrivals from Kosovo. From January to March, 85,394 people applied for asylum in Germany, more than double the total in the same period last year.
German officials say they saw a huge spike of asylum seekers from Kosovo arriving in January and February, in part because of loosened border crossing rules between Kosovo and Serbia and rumors in Kosovo social media that Germany was an easy place to seek asylum. The numbers of Kosovar asylum seekers have declined sharply since February, German officials say, even as refugees from Syria and Iraq continue flowing in.
Read the rest of the story HERE.

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