Desis in Deutschland / 'Foreigner Policy' and Applied Law in Germany

4.5. The underlying issue: foreigner policy

All this indicates that, although the official reasons for refusing the German citizenship to Dr. Agarwal are development politics issues, there is a different agenda underlying this according to which naturalisation should be handled as restrictive as possible in order to keep in line with the tenor of foreigner policy. This exclusionary and also discriminatory approach surfaces once in a while in the documents written by the town and is also part of the federal home office's line of reasoning. Foreigners from developing countries, i.e. those who are visibly different from the Germans, are depicted as seeking only their personal advantage, as coming from a place far inferior to Germany. In that country, furthermore, they are perceived to infringe on the rights of the indigenous population, costing much money and blocking its progress. There is a display of utter disregard for the countries of origin as the only aim is to keep the foreigners away; if not physically because the law prevents this then at least symbolically by not letting them legally become Germans. By refusing naturalisation, or making it very difficult to obtain, the public authorities cannot only preserve their own myth of return but can also illustrate that getting the German citizenship is something very special, having the character of an act of grace rather than basing on a right which can be claimed.

The many discriminatory remarks are commented on a bit by Dr. Agarwal's lawyer, but they never become an issue debated in the case. Either it is not perceived as a problem, as discrimination is still today denied as a problem in official Germany, or it is carefully avoided as a treatment of discrimination by the courts would be causing too much uproar. Accordingly, the underlying agenda of the administration, i.e. the attempt to exclude foreigners from German life as much as possible, is not addressed and no bar is put on the development of other official measures with the same effect as the repayment rule.

Nobody in the case, not even the applicant, challenges the German state's construction of a homogenous white Germany, of a country which is not an Einwanderungsland. It stays thus legitimate to devise exclusionary mechanism, particularly against citizens of developing countries, as long as this happens within the realm of the law.

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© Urmila Goel, / englishDesis in Deutschland/ Recht/ naturalisation 1998/2004