Germany is the second most popular migration destination in the world, after the United States. Of all the 27 European Union states, Germany has the second highest percentage of immigrants in its population after the United Kingdom. By UN estimates, as of 2017, 12,165,083 people living in Germany are immigrants, or about 14.8% of the German population. The German Government has been keen to encourage immigration over the past 50 years, to address the low birth rate in the country. On 1 January 2005, a new immigration law came into effect. The political background to this new law was that Germany, for the first time ever, acknowledged to be an “immigration country”. In response to liberalized migration and asylum laws in Germany, and partly due to the escalating conflicts in the vicinity of the European Union, immigration to Germany increased. More than 1 million migrants and asylum seekers have arrived in Germany every year since 2012, reaching nearly 1.5 million in 2014. In hindsight, these inflows were relatively uncomplicated, compared to what was about to come.
Amid record levels of displacement worldwide—with nearly 60 million people displaced—Europe and especially Germany have become highly sought-after destinations. In 2015, close to half a million people requested asylum in Germany, a historical record and a tenfold increase over 2010. Of the 1.3 million asylum claims submitted throughout the European Union in 2015, Germany received the lion’s share, with 36 percent (followed by Hungary and Sweden, with 13 percent and 12 percent, respectively). Syrians, Iraqis, and Iranians represented the top asylum seekers during the first half of 2016—a shift from 2015 when Balkan countries including Albania and Kosovo also ranked high. Asylum applications from these countries decreased markedly after Germany designated them safe countries, to send the message that would-be applicants had a minuscule approval chance. After all, which one is more important ? National identity, Traditions, Safety OR Industry, Economy, Humanity ? Germans will decide when next election comes.