The Refugee Crisis and Germany: From Migration Crisis to Immigration and Integration Regime

17 Pages Posted: 11 Mar 2016

See all articles by David Abraham

David Abraham

University of Miami - School of Law

Date Written: February 1, 2016


This paper begins by examining the various contours of the current crisis for Europe and Germany in particular. It examines the breakdown of the categories with which the post-1945 international regime has worked: migrant, immigrant, asylum seeker, overseas/quota/UNHCR refugee, etc. and looks at how those distinctions might now be more of an impediment to crisis management than a solution.

The paper then turns to an examination of the Germany’s citizenship policies and the various ersatz mechanisms it has used since 1945 in lieu of immigration laws: including the massive ingathering of ethnic Germans from the East, large (and self-deceptive) “guest worker” programs, EU free-mobility rules, and various forms of German and EU asylum and subsidiary protection. These have served to mystify the actual process of immigration while also vitiating the meaning of asylum.

The paper then argues for a “real” immigration law that might be constructed in such a way as both to serve Germany’s mercantilist interests and show a decent respect for the humanitarian and family needs of current German residents. Finally, accompanying such an immigration policy would be a policy of social integration into the welfare state that would protect standards while pushing back against both cultural fissiparousness and neo-liberal economics. Since e pluribus unum is not so simple, significant opportunities must be offered for immigrants to think of themselves as “citizens in the making.”

Keywords: immigration, refugees, asylum, EU, integration, Germany

JEL Classification: J60

Suggested Citation

Abraham, David, The Refugee Crisis and Germany: From Migration Crisis to Immigration and Integration Regime (February 1, 2016). University of Miami Legal Studies Research Paper No. 16-17, Available at SSRN: or

David Abraham (Contact Author)

University of Miami - School of Law ( email )

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