I've come to the point pushing normal political analysis aside in the case of Germany, it's immigration and asylum strategy, and it's success or failure. I think using normal business-related analysis.....it's more practical and probably answers more questions than political analysis would provide.
Point 1: A company knows it's customers and when trends go up. So you look back at Arab Spring and when war arrived in Syria in mid-summer 2011. Up until that point.....the company (the German state) had an average trend of people showing up to claim asylum, immigration, or refugee status. During the Bosnia War, it went up to around a million.....after the war settled.....the bulk of these people left Germany and went home (statistics show this as a fact).
So this company (Germany) by the end of 2011, should have noticed via their department (BAMF) a trend of people arriving and asking for immigration status. Maybe not tens of thousands.....but at least several hundred a week.
As time went by, the customers department (BAMF) should have noticed the trend continuing up in mid-summer 2012, and still increasing in spring of 2013. Did the kid in charge of Syrian numbers at BAMF just grin and shove it all into monthly reports that no one read? Did the head guy of BAMF show up at the Interior Ministry every couple of weeks and just put a slide up and no one at the Interior Ministry ever notice the trend?
By the end of 2014, with half-a-million refugees, you would think BAMF would be having weekly meetings and talking about the impact.....but you don't see that impression.
Point 2: BAMF ran it's agency in Nuremberg with roughly 650 employees. In the 2011 era, if you came into the country....you got registered and spent roughly six to eight weeks waiting for approval or disapproval. By the end of 2014, at least by what the news media was reporting then.....it'd take around four to six months now to reach a decision. An attempt to beef-up BAMF? In a normal company, you'd hire contractors and bring the decision quickly back down to six to eight weeks. BAMF, the Interior Ministry and the leadership of the coalition just wouldn't go and do that.
Midway through 2015, BAMF's boss was dragged out into public discussions weekly. He eventually resigned toward the fall of 2015. New boss, and now a promise by the Interior Ministry to hire a minimum of a thousand new employees.
New problem? Well, it's a curious thing.....it would be commented upon by the news media that it would take months to recruit and hire the new BAMF people, then train them. You might not see any real improvement for twelve to eighteen months.
Then people commented about interior problems at BAMF.....people fighting change and hostile to new people or procedures. Last month, a process-change company offered their services free of charge to Berlin.....to quietly examine the process of immigration approval and how it could be improved. Grumbling occurred (as hinted by the news media) within BAMF. They didn't want to be told how to run their business.
In a normal business....you seek to find the most productive way of getting your job done. If you aren't willing to find highly productive ways.....you need to resign or remove yourself. This didn't happen.
Point 3: Borderlines in Germany don't exist. Over and over, from 2011 to 2016, it's fairly concrete that no border exists between and it's neighbors. If someone wants to walk across the border.....they will. The Bavarians got hyper and frustrated about this. They want something to change. Berlin and it's leadership? They don't want to discuss the border.
In a normal company, you establish a boundary to your production and you hire security to maintain some type of control. Without control, there is no border and no necessity to pretend it exists only in an imaginary world.
Point 4: Ever since the end of WW II.....German birth-rates have been declining. Part of the issue is the high cost of living.....some issues revolve around women in the work-place and making the decision later in life to marry or have kids.....and some of the issue involves German culture itself in terms of independence.
A university report came out in 2015 which noted that within 25 years.....Germany would slide from a country of 80-million residents to roughly 65-million residents.
Unless something changes, it's a difficult problem to accept. Some of the immigration friendliness of Germany revolves around the idea of new immigrants arriving (hence the continual use of this word instead of refugees). If you could find some educated people and convince them that you were open-minded and accepting....you'd bump up your population.
Syria had this one different ingredient.....Assad had put higher priority upon education than any country in the Middle East. A lot of the incoming refugees had more than basic high school. This was attractive to German business leaders.
Added to this was the idea of new immigrants who would accept standard pay (maybe a notch or two less than normal) to just get started.
Point 5: Low cost housing has been noted for a decade in major urban areas (Frankfurt, Hamburg, Koln, etc) as a problem. Older apartment buildings from the 1950s and 1960s were being picked up on the market, remodeled, and turned back over to the old renters.....but with rent escalating (sometimes by 100-percent). Long-term renters find themselves pushed out of an apartment they've had for twenty years because of renovation upgrades and rent that they can't pay.....which neither the new immigrant pay either.
For the most part, no one is building new reasonably-priced apartment structures. So if you were desiring a new place at a medium price.....you had to look thirty to sixty kilometers out from the city.....using the autobahn or railway system to get into work.
The new immigrants? The vast number of them all want urban living with job access. Very few desire living thirty kilometers out of Frankfurt. So you envision this game.....ten-thousand possible new immigrants wanting to live in Frankfurt. Where will they live?
Point 6: What few Germans grasped throughout the news media numbers charts.....there are various immigrants from different countries....NOT just Syria or Iraq. I sat one night and looked at some chart showing twenty-six countries represented for a three-month period on entry. Different languages? Well....yeah. The school systems can handle this type of thing with nine different cultural groups showing up and getting a turbo version of German language? It's hard to say if the state education system will work under this type of development.
Point 7: When things bumped up in 2014 and the federal government expected states to run their own immigration centers and support the tens of thousands of immigrants.....they weren't eager to provide extra money for the states. By the conclusion of 2014.....the states finally said enough, and demanded payment.
Over 2015, almost every quarter....the German financial whiz-kids have been forced to find funds and cover increasing costs.
If you ask anyone about the real cost to the nation....you get a rough number. Some private analysts (experts at finance) have done their own numbers and say twenty-billion Euro will likely be the cost of 2016 (it's a chunk of money over what political folks say).
The Solidarity Tax which was supposed to end in 2019? There's talk now that it won't end, and it'll have to pay for immigrants. Bring up the topic with most middle-class Germans who pay the Solidarity Tax and they just grin....they know it'll never end.
Point 8: From early 2014 to fall of 2015....state-run news brought an arsenal of intellectuals to each chat forum to hype and talk positive over immigration and asylum in Germany.
It was almost like sitting and watching a dozen Dallas Cowboy players from the 1970s brought in to talk about the great current team (they last went to the Super Bowl in 1996, twenty years ago). It was a stacked argument.....you the consumer, were going to get the obvious opinion.
A poll by Germans back in the fall of 2015 indicated roughly sixty-percent of German society aren't buying into the truthful nature of the state-run news media.
Point 9: As much as political figures will say this was all a debate about immigration and asylum.....they've charged up the right-wing enough to create fresh new enthusiasm for opposition to them in elections. There might be ten-percent of the voters opposing immigration.....there might be twenty-percent opposing immigration. You just can't be sure about the frustration vote and how people will vote in a real election. They've created a situation in 2016 where five total state elections over the entire year will now be a vote for or against Merkel's strategy.
Point 10: The refugee camps and centers have become long-term housing which might be ok if we were talking about two months.....but after you've been there for seven or eight months....it just doesn't work.
Fights break out daily at refugee centers, with cops called and it requires a minimum of twenty cops to establish some peace over an argument which usually involves young men.
None of the states or cities really had anything planned or envisioned....this is simply some quickly forged housing deal which can be heated and has a roof.
Point 11: As shocking as it sounds.....all immigrants or asylum seekers are NOT equal. Syrians have an approval rate of 95-percent or better for a permanent visa. Iraqis and Afghans are near 90-percent (the German media updates this every couple of months). Eritrea folks are fairly high on the list. Coming from Albania or Montenegro? It's an approval rate of five-percent.
Hostility brews at various camps where one culture knows they will absolutely be approved and another culture wakes up six months down the road to realize almost no one is being approved from their group.
The approval deal? All related back to Berlin and the political process. Fair? Who said any of this had to be fair?
Point 12: Crime. Before this immigration issue started up (spring of 2014).....Germany already had a crime issue being up. Germans will tell you that it's mostly southeastern European folks and Gypsies. There might be sexual assault numbers increasing over the past couple of months.....but pure robbery and theft have been going up for several years.
Most regions are demanding more cops on the beat, and I would imagine another ten-to-twenty percent increase in German police over the next decade.
One might note that the thugs arrested for robbery or theft....typically aren't on some waiting list for a visa, so they are a totally different variety.
All of this.....leads to a conflicted immigration, migration, asylum, and refugee situation. It's not simple.
Germans.....at least in the 2014 period....wanted desperately to appear as kind-hearted and generous. They wanted the appearance of different society than existed in 1932 Germany. Tolerance was a word often used.....to the point where people felt a true calling to the tolerance issue.
Over the last twelve months.....a growing trend exists now with tolerance viewed as a false-tolerance. Some Germans will bring up the Christian-nation status of Germany....going back 1,300-odd years and how a growing population of Muslims will only conflict with that long period of history.
There were a hundred business-like practices that could have been viewed back in 2012/2013 and shown some smart moves and prevented the frustrations that exist today.
When the Germans felt pressure over the high numbers back in the summer of 2015....wanting to turn this into an EU-issue and force members of the EU to help take immigrants and refugees from Germany....they suddenly found a lack of compassion existed beyond the German border. Other European countries just weren't that willing. If they did sign up.....it was a very small number that they'd agree to take in and it was meant to be a one-time thing.....not to be visited again.
If this were a business-like episode.....I'd say it's not a failure, but it is moving toward a marginal success where you simply pour money into a 'product' with no hope of ever getting 'bang-for-the-buck' (as we'd say in the US).
If another million cross the border in 2016? That's one of the dozen-odd issues yet to be conveyed to the public. Spring is roughly 90 days away. If May arrives and 150,000 refugees are on the trail to Germany....it'll focus more negativity upon the issue and create more political tension.
This is an essay to simply bring a person into the topic and focus on what has happened up to this point. If you were looking for a bright and successful immigration program.....you'd best just keep looking because this isn't it.