The governing mayor of Berlin has announced that foreign nationals will be naturalized more quickly and in large numbers across the Germany capital, according to reports by the Junge Freiheit news outlet.
Speaking in front of the House of Representatives on Wednesday, Berlin Mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) praised the part that immigration has played in the city’s cultural enrichment.
“Berlin without immigration is hard to imagine. How poor would our city be,” she told the chamber.
Around 800,000 people living in Berlin do not have a German passport. According to experts, approximately 450,000 of them are potentially entitled to naturalization — the process of a foreign national being admitted to the citizenship of a country. Giffey acknowledged that many of them had lived and worked in the capital for many years and therefore met the requirements to become German.
“Foreigners should receive German citizenship quickly”
The social democrat called for the procedure to change so that foreign nationals can obtain a German passport quickly and efficiently. Today, Berlin naturalizes 6,000 people a year, a figure which is too low, according to Giffey.
“We should do everything we can to increase these numbers,” the mayor added.
To cope with this mass, Giffey has announced her intention to create a naturalization center, a central office that proceeds uniformly, unbureaucratically, and fairly to speed the process up currently left to the twelve Berlin districts.
Only AFD criticized the move
The CDU MP Björn Wohlert also supported promoting the German passport more intensively. However, he at the very least demanded clear requirements for naturalization: language, work, liberal values, and the acceptance of living the German way.
The liberal FDP complained that the city is currently not doing enough for foreign nationals with caucus leader Sebastian Czaja saying that people who want to live and work in Berlin still face too many obstacles.
On the other hand, criticism of the planned rapid and mass naturalizations came from the AfD. Caucus leader Kristin Brinker warned against condoning and legitimizing illegal immigration.
Last year alone, more than 80,000 people came to Berlin without a German passport, many of them illegally.