Friday, January 6, 2017

The Epic Mess

Focus wrote up a piece yesterday on journalist Shams ul-Haq, and his book (published in the last 90 days)...."The Hotbed of Terror".  So far, the book itself is only in German (on Amazon.de, if you were curious).  The book covers roughly a year where ul-Haq went into 35 different German, Austrian, and Swiss refugee camps...undercover.  You see...as a teen, ul-Haq came to Germany from Pakistan (alone).  He integrated, got into the craft of journalism and age 41...thought that this was an unexplored topic.

So Focus puts up a three-minute reading piece and discusses the main discovery that ul-Haq comes away with....namely that Germany had an incompetent method of refugee camp operation, and invited all these present issues with radicals to grow and mature.

How?  This is a mutli-layer story which I will tell myself.  I've sat for three years and read through various pieces of journalism from within Germany.  Bits and pieces of the story were continually told but the government itself never understood the 'Frankenstein-like' creature that they'd created.

For decades, Germany had an average number of immigrants, migrants, and refugees.  Most of the time, it centered around 250,000.  During the Balkans crisis period....it went up to 800,000 for one brief year.   But generally, their entire system....from the centers to the BaMF (the immigration agency) were designed to cover 250,000 a year.

So when it started to drift up to 300,000 (2013), with a large assortment of characters showing up with no ID....the slow-down starts to occur and the system gets bogged down.  If you had effective leadership and authority from Berlin....things might have fallen into a more organized effort.  Instead, BaMF was the only real federal piece of this puzzle.  The centers and collection of individuals was a state and city issue....NOT federal.

How did the states act? They simply flipped responsibility over to cities and told them to press hard on finding more accommodations. Some had marginally-profitable hotels in their area (way past the prime) and did contracts for the hotels to hold a crowd of 100 to 200 refugees.

Some of the communities went back to regional former US Army posts and opened the barracks up for the incoming crowd.

In most cases, little planning was done and marginal control was in effect.  Clogged drains?  Broken lights?  Windows that won't close in winter?  These are issues that most US military operations would have a engineering unit attend to daily.  But the Germans weren't hyped up on this part of the plan.  So drains might sit for two or three weeks clogged up.  Lights might take a month before some repair guy came.  Some cities were smart and had a maintenance contract as part of their plan ahead.....some weren't smart and screwed up big-time.

All of this led to discontent and frustration within the little community.  It was the first bad step.

So you come to BaMF.  They weren't really capable of handing 400,000 or one-million cases a year.  Toss in the massive amount of people with NO ID, or fake ID....and you had a process which could no longer take six weeks, and was moving closer to six to eight months.  So you forced people to stay in a marginal living atmosphere for a lot longer than anticipated.  The roughly 700 employees of BaMF weren't able to react.  They didn't hire up more temp-workers or find ways to short-cut through the process.  When Berlin suggested they fix their problem....they did little to nothing. About half-way through 2015, they let the boss of BaMF go (forced retirement or whatever you want to call it).  The new chief brought on hundreds of new employees, but knew it'd take six months for them to really get into their job and help cut the slow-rate of approval/disapproval.  This was the second bad step.

Then you had the issue of who was showing up to "help" in the refugee centers.  Various Islamic-charity operations showed up....some with positive characters....some with Salafists.  The controllers of the facilities weren't smart enough to grasp the damage that the Salafists were doing.  It was an inside-type recruitment center.  Everything that went wrong within the centers....were blamed back on the Germans.  This was the third bad step.

Halal food.  The various groups of refugees and immigrants were across a wide spectrum.  Probably two-thirds were Muslim, and the rest non-Muslim.  Muslims are told to eat Halal food, which means the method of slaughter has to be in a certain method.  A lot of the immigrant centers were fixed up with a catering-type service in the very beginning....that was not exactly in tune with Halal requirements.  You can imagine some city manager in Bamberg or Trier who is told to just fix up some center to operate within six weeks and to handle 400 migrants.  The guy has no grasp or understanding of Halal.  Had the Berlin crowd been in charge and this managed nationally....some smart guy would have wrote requirements up to fix the problem.

So the Salafist guys showed up and keyed into this issue of lacking Halal food.  They could suggest it to be a conspiracy, or a devious plan to convert them to Christians.  The naive crowd at the refugee center had already seen various screw-ups and it wouldn't be hurt to make them believe just about anything.  This was the fourth bad step.

Then you come to this pass/fail situation of the whole immigration process.  Everyone left their homeland with the belief that Germany gave away the visas....which was never true.  There's always been an application, a pass-fail process, and people who who were sent away.

 New into this whole mess were the "Good-people" (the pro-immigrant Germans) who believed that they could help the process by writing up the appeals for these failed applicants and forcing these folks now onto a second process....run NOT by BaMF but by the German court system....judges.

Sadly, the German court system was never built to handle this many cases....to the degree it is currently. So after six to eight months, and a failed application....then the frustrated immigrant fell into the next mess....waiting possibly another six months for judge to conduct the same type review.  In some states, you have a higher chance of making it via the judge. Why?  No journalists wants to dig into this or ask.  No one states numbers....but it's obvious that some legal systems are different (16 total German states).  This was the fifth bad step.

Then you come to the curious step of fake ID and multiple applications for social welfare.  A typical refugee/migrant who goes and gets around 650-odd Euro a month to cover his basic life expenses.  A lot of the immigrants were legit....meaning they were playing fairly.  Some (we never know how many) had multiple IDs and were attempting to get social welfare from various cities and states....with numerous identities.  The Germans ran a one-star system with no real ability to determine who was already registered and who was who.  Fraud exists, but no one is sure about how much.  There could hundreds, maybe thousands, maybe even tens of thousands of guys with two identities or more....collecting fraudulent welfare.   This was the sixth bad step.

Then you come to getting the failed applicants to leave.  A lot of people by this last step got smart.  They lost their original passport somewhere and the homeland isn't happy or thrilled to take these people back.  So months and years are spent in some limbo while the Germans are having to force that government to write a new passport and issue it.  This was the seventh bad step.

Then you come to various governments who did say fine.....they would take their people back....but there was a limit.  Maybe fifty people a week.  Maybe a hundred people a week. Right now, based on recent reports, the number of people waiting in Germany on failed applications sits at roughly 400,000 to 500,000.  You could be talking about ten years before this group gets whittled down to zero.  The German bureaucracy created this type of mess.  This is the eighth bad step.

As much as the public is now angry and we are in the midst of an election year....what does it really mean.  You could have half the population vote for AfD, then what?  Fixing this is next to impossible.  You'd have to start with the constitution and write a clause that says there will be a limit each year and define war-time refugees as different from migrants.  You'd have to put up a fence and actually kick people out.  You'd have to open up holding centers for failed applicants and keep them as prisoners until they got on the plane to leave.  None of that is going to happen.

The Germans are stuck with an unfixable mess.  The intellectuals can sit around and pat each other on the back, with public-TV journalists writing weepy-eyed stories but the general public has lost faith.  The system isn't working as advertised and it's more of a comedy than a epic savior-piece.  It's a problem that cannot really be fixed by just firing one group of politicians for another.  You would need massive change, which I don't think the system is ready for or can contemplate the end-result.

The written piece by Focus?  I would agree with the journalists analysis....to some degree, Germans helped to breed this radical stage in Germany.  No one was smart to enough to understand that, or plan to the extent required.  I don't necessarily think it's a German-only problem....some of these issues you can find in the US as well, and across Europe.

There is no end to this story, just another chapter to be written.

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