Immigration and Citizenship in Germany

in German Politics and Society
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In Germany, as in many other European democracies, immigration

and citizenship are contested and contentious issues. In the German

case it was both the magnitude of postwar and recent immigration as

well as its interference with questions of identity that created political

and social conflict. As a result of World War II, the coexistence

of two German states, and the persistence of ethnic German minorities

in central and eastern Europe, (West) Germany’s migration and

naturalization policy was inclusive toward expellees, GDR citizens,

and co-ethnics. At the same time, the Federal Republic of Germany,

despite the recruitment of several million foreign labor migrants

and—until 1992—a relatively liberal asylum practice, did not develop

similar mechanisms and policies of absorption and integration of its

legal foreign residents.