Majority of Germans oppose refugees reuniting with their families, survey finds
A survey commissioned by Bild newspaper published on Tuesday reveals that the majority of Germans reject the idea of refugees legally reuniting with their families in Germany.
Over 58 percent of interviewees rejected the notion of refugee family reunification whereas around 42 percent supported it, the survey showed.
People granted full asylum have a right to reunite with their close family as stipulated by the Geneva Convention. According to the Bild report, there has been an increase in the number of family reunion visas Germany has issued in recent years. From January 2015 to the end of June 2017, around 230,000 requests for this visa were granted.
Nonetheless, many asylum seekers in Germany are only granted subsidiary protection, a secondary form of asylum which offers fewer rights. Even Syrians are by and large only offered subsidiary protection, unless they can show that they as an individual face persecution in their homeland.
In March 2016 the German government decided to delay decisions on family reunification for people offered subsidiary protection until March 2018.
In a recent discussion Merkel had at the federal press centre in Berlin, Merkel said she would only make firm decisions about family reunification for particular groups of refugees in 2018 if she is re-elected as Chancellor, according to die Welt.
Another finding in the survey revealed that significantly more women (62.1 percent) than men (54.5 percent), more east Germans (66.8 per cent) than west Germans (56.5 percent) and more middle-aged respondents (69.2 per cent) than youthful respondents (49.1 per cent) rejected family reunion amongst refugees.
There were significant differences according to the political parties the interviewees aligned themselves with too.
Alternative for Germany (AfD) supporters (95.8 per cent) and Free Democratic Party (FDP) supporters (66.8 per cent) reject reunification among refugee families much more strongly than supporters of German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Conservative CDU party and Bavarian sister party CSU (54.3 per cent).
The Left Party (Die Linke) and the Social Democrats (SPD) hover around the middle at 52.2 percent and 42.7 percent, respectively.
With weeks to go until the September 24th general election, the issue of migration could be a decisive factor for Merkel as she seeks a fourth term.
Merkel's popularity plunged after the arrival of nearly 900,000 asylum seekers from the world's crisis zones last year, but has recovered of late.