In Herne, a smaller city in the Ruhr region, there have been protests by refugees in front of the local foreigners authority. On Monday, August 14, more than 100 refugees gathered with placards, microphones and speeches to draw attention to their situation and to hold the foreigners authority in Herne accountable. The reason for their protest is the non-processing of their requests by the foreigners authority. Often the refugees, mainly from Syria, have to wait up to one year for their requests to be dealt with for the first time. Many of the protesters want to be granted citizenship or need urgent papers from the foreigners authority in order to be able to continue their education and professions, others complain about not being able to travel because they are simply not issued the necessary papers.

A woman, mother of three children, who has been in Germany for six years, reported to Westdeutscher Rundfunk that she calls the foreigners authority in Herne two to three hundred times a day and still receives no answer. Another man reports that he has already had to abandon two apprenticeships due to the inactivity of the Foreigners' Registration Office, because his certificate of residence was issued too late several times and he received a so-called fictitious certificate as a substitute. However, a fictitious certificate is only a temporary residence permit, which is apparently an excuse for some training companies to throw people out the door because they cannot plan with them. The result is that some of the refugees resign "Why should I start another apprenticeship if I'm not allowed to finish it?" says 23-year-old Mohamad, who last tried an apprenticeship as a hospital care worker.

These problems are not only found in the city of Herne, but in foreigners authorities throughout NRW. There are also reports from Cologne and Krefeld where, for example, Afghan refugees wait months for an appointment. Here, too, it is a matter of their perspective of being able to stay in the FRG in the long term and, accordingly, of being able to continue their job or start a new apprenticeship.


The municipalities in NRW blame the problem on unfilled positions and the mass of applications submitted by refugees. On average, 10 percent of the positions in NRW are not filled, and in some cases there is a shortage of up to 25 percent of staff in the foreigners authorities. The lack of staff in authorities may be an explanation why the applications of refugees are not processed and their lives and future are made difficult or even destroyed. However, the personnel argument as the sole cause of the lack of processing of applications is a bad joke in view of the general handling of foreigners in the authorities of the bureaucracy monster in the FRG. The foreigners authorities in particular are known for making life especially difficult for the refugees and immigrants who depend on them.

There are countless stories about how people have to bring their papers up to the birth certificate to every office appointment. In Essen, there was recently a case where the German bachelor's degree certificate of an Algerian was not accepted because he did not have his primary school certificate ready at the appointment. This is just one example of the daily harassment that people have to endure here because of war, hunger and poverty that imperialism is spreading in the oppressed nations, i.e. most of the countries of origin of the refugees. It is not without reason that the foreigners authorities are denounced with the name Foreigners Prevention Authority.


A solution to the problems of the demonstrating refugees in Herne and all others who are waiting for their papers in North Rhine-Westphalia does not seem to be in sight. The Ministry of Refugees in North Rhine-Westphalia, which is led by the Greens, pointed out at the beginning of May that the municipalities urgently need to be supported by the federal government and hopes for a turnaround in the issue through the "refugee summit" that took place in May. How the federal government is supposed to help with the supposedly huge job problem remains a secret of the green minister and her cronies. After all, the so-called "refugee summit" did not solve the problem either. It was decided at the time that the federal government would distribute 1 billion euros to the federal states, which in turn would be distributed to the municipalities. Otherwise, the summit was completely in line with the current intensifying reactionarisation of German imperialism. Above all, it was decided how to deport refugees more efficiently in the future or how to prevent them from coming to Europe and Germany in the first place by further expanding Fortress Europe and setting up reception camps in the oppressed nations themselves. Thus, the refugees remain political maneuvering masses of the bourgeoisie and its different factions and parties and, depending on how it suits them best, are used to solve their problems in terms of labor shortages or to divide the people in the FRG and spread chauvinist hatred.

Meanwhile, the refugees in Herne have announced that they will continue to take to the streets. And that is also the only realistic way left for them to fight for their democratic rights.