CULTURE OF DEPORTATION documents the German and European tradition of criminalising and illegalising mobility. The knowledge and analyses emerging from African migrations and self-organised struggles highlight the diverse forms of state violence against Black migrants in the German asylum system and the EU border regime. The blog aims to empower local struggles and offer activist knowledge for political work.

The working group CULTURE OF DEPORTATION came together in 2015 to gather evidence to support the lawsuit of two men against their deportation from Germany. The Gambian Yusupha Jarboh (R.I.P.) and the Sierra Leonean Joseph Koroma were falsely deported as Nigerians to Nigeria. They had lived, respectively, for 19 and 7 years in Germany with a DULDUNG*, under constant repression by the immigration authorities (FILE: JarbohFILE: Koroma). Beyond their individual cases, the research examined the practice of German migration control, particularly the strategy of DULDUNG* (suspension of deportation) as criminalisation through asylum. Later the group abandoned the project of the lawsuit (for the time being), continuing to expand the archive of evidence.

Amidst the new wave of EU border control policies after 2015 the collective started to put more emphasis on the ongoing EXTERNALISATION* of EU borders and on the influence of German policies within the EU. Since 2018 southern German deportation camps and police and security violence were in focus as they sparked self-organised protest.

Dedicated to the memory of Yusupha Jarboh.




CULTURE OF DEPORTATION dokumentiert die deutsche und europäische Tradition der Kriminalisierung und Illegalisierung der Mobilität. Das Wissen und die Analysen aus afrikanischen Migrationen und selbstorganisierten Kämpfen zeigen die vielfältigen Formen staatlicher Gewalt gegen schwarze Migranten im deutschen Asylsystem und im EU-Grenzregime. Der Blog zielt darauf ab, lokale Kämpfe zu stärken und aktivistisches Wissen für die politische Arbeit anzubieten.

Die Arbeitsgruppe CULTURE OF DEPORTATION formte sich im Jahr 2015, um Beweismaterial für die Klage zweier Männer gegen ihre Abschiebung aus Deutschland zu sammeln. Der Gambier Yusupha Jarboh (R.I.P.) und der Sierra Leoneaner Joseph Koroma wurden fälschlicherweise als Nigerianer nach Nigeria abgeschoben. Sie lebten 19 bzw. 7 Jahre in Deutschland mit einer DULDUNG*, unter ständiger Repression durch die Ausländerbehörde und Polizei (FILE: Jarboh, FILE: Koroma). Über den Einzelfall hinaus untersuchte die Recherche die Praxis der deutschen Migrationskontrolle, insbesondere die Strategie von DULDUNG* (Aussetzung der Abschiebung) al seine Strategie der Kriminalisierung durch Asyl. Später gab die Gruppe das Projekt der Klage (vorerst) auf und erweiterte das Beweisarchiv weiter.

Inmitten der neuen Welle der EU-Grenzkontrollpolitik nach 2015 begann das Kollektiv mehr Fokus auf die laufende EXTERNALISIERUNG* der EU-Grenzen und auf den Einfluss der deutschen Politik innerhalb der EU zu legen. Seit 2018 standen süddeutsche Abschiebelager und Polizei- und Sicherheitsgewalt im Mittelpunkt als sie zu selbstorganisierten Protesten führten.

In Gedenken an Yusupha Jarboh.





Le blog CULTURE DE LA DEPORTATION, publie une documentation sur la tradition allemande de criminalisation de la mobilité et le modèle de l’externalisation des frontières et le management de la migration par l’Union Européenne. Les materiaux du blog exposent cette sorte d’‘‘Asile à l’allemande‘‘, qui en réalité est une guerre administrative contre les migrants. Cette documentation a été collectée et mise en place par le groupe  CULTURE DE LA DEPORTATION dans le but de fournir une base de données activiste pour des travaux politiques.

Le groupe de travail CULTURE DE LA DEPORTATION s’est mis en place par la volonté de rassembler  des preuves pour une procédure judiciaire en faveur de deux migrants déportés de l’Allemagne au Nigeria et à produire une information qui remette en question la politique migratoire allemande. Le point de départ était les pratiques de criminalisation par l’asile en Allemagne avec la stratégie de DULDUNG* (suspension d’expulsion). Au milieu d’une reaction de lois renforçant les frontières de l’Union Européenne depuis 2015 le groupe a plus insisté sur la galopante EXTERNALISATION* des frontières de l’Union Européenne et l’influence  de l’Allemagne dans la politique migratoire de l’Union Européenne. Les savoirs et analyses émanant des groupes auto-organisés demeurent au centre du travail.

Les cas de Yusupha Jarboh and Joseph Koroma ont été revélés au public en 2013 pendant une dynamique intense de protestation contre le système d’asile allemand. L’occupation de l’ambassade du Nigeria à  Berlin en 2012 faisait partie de la mobilisation contre la collaboration à la deportation des ambassades de  pays tiers. Le gambien Jarboh et le Sierra Leonais Koroma ont été deportés au Nigeria en 2013 à l’aide des laissez-passer nigérians. Les deux ont vécu plusieurs années en Allemagne avec le statut de DULDUNG*, sous une répression constante exercée par les autorités en charge de l’immigration.  Ils ont été identifiés comme étant des nigérians lors d’une audition. Ils ont été identifiés comme étant des nigérians lors d’une audition (MOBILE EMBASSY HEARING*) de l’ambassade de Nigeria (FILE: Jarboh, FILE: Koroma).

Progressivement le groupe de travail a confirmé que il y avait à peine des recours juridiques pour rendre justice à Jarboh et Koroma: Le cadre de la légalité défini par les instances allemandes et européennes rende illégale sa mobilité comme si par definition. Le blog offre des matériaux  d’une éducation critique et dans le but d’intervenir dans le débat sur cet apartheid de la mobilité.





of criminalisation of migration and mobility in Germany and the EU
de criminalisation de la migration et mobilité en Allemagne et dans l’UE

by Rex Osa // transl. from German, original published in November 2011: http://thevoiceforum.org/node/2318 Positioning of The VOICE Refugee Forum on understanding self-organisation and the struggle for one’s own voice. The history of oppression is long and victims need the space to express their feelings and......

Report on 13th November 2020 via refugees for refugees The German Interior Ministry confirmed its participation in what seems to be an Austrian-German charter deportation operation to Nigeria last Thursday. The deportation flight departed from Vienna with 22 persons, including a lady, with a transit in......



of German aliens and border police /
de la police en charge des étrangers et des frontières

AG RÜCKFÜHRUNG / Working group Return

A working group formed in 1993 to discuss deportation practices and problematics between the German federal state and the states. Synthetises „deportation knowledge“ of different branches of government – ministries of the interior, the Foreign Ministry, Federal Administration for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), Foreigners’ Authority (Ausländerbehörde) and the Federal Border Patrol (Bundesgrenzschutz). Produces policy recommendations and diagnoses, influences law-making and public opinion. Has promoted the adoption of such „best practices“ as the MOBILE (EMBASSY) HEARING* (see Kay Wendel, Rex Osa).

The pro-deportation propaganda of the group centres on presumed VOLLZUGSDEFIZITE*, DEPORTATION GAPS. It blames foreigners of frustrating their own deportation orders by concealing their identity, pretending to be sick or by getting into a fake marriages or fatherhood. According to AG RÜCK third country nationals resist identification measures and hinder the issuance of passports or passport substitutes. The group also accuses the country embassies, of a list of around 30 „problem states“, of non-cooperation in the identification of deportees and in issuing passports and travel certificates for deportation.

Since 1993 the AG RÜCK has argued that the presence of AUSREISEPFLICHTIGE* , persons who no longer possess a valid residence permit in Germany, constitutes the number one risk for national security and public order, and demands drastic measures. It conveniently ignores who these persons are or which policies produce this group. This is possible as concrete data concerning this category or actual deportation obstacles is extremely scarce. For the AG RÜCK the AUSREISEPFLICHTIGE* is synonymous with criminality: It claims that remaining in Germany after a deportation order or termination of a permit constitutes an attack against „rule of law“, Rechtsstaat, and has to combatted by all means. AG RÜCK is fixated on ASYLUM FRAUD*, ignoring the fact that Germany forces third country nationals into the asylum system (see also ANWERBESTOPP*, RECHT AUF ASYL*). The group demands the closing of different „loopholes“ to stay in the country after a negative asylum decision or a deportation order, such as not having a passport or sickness. This promotes the further criminalisation of third country nationals with a DULDUNG* (see also MITWIRKUNGSPFLICHT*).

The working group’s initial task was to address a „surplus“ created by German crisis management policies of the early 1990s. In 1992 there was a peak year of asylum applications (400.000 new applications) in the wake of the Yugoslavian breakup and other global crises. In this situation asylum was most non-EC migrants’ only ticket to Germany. Most applications were rejected using both existing laws and the restrictive constitutional amendment that entered in force in 1993 (Asylkompromiss). Since then AG RÜCK’s diagnoses and policy recommendations have found their way to the preparation and text of new laws, sometimes word for word. Through German media the group has also striven to make deportation more popular in eyes of the public.

Read an example of AG RÜCK’s reports here.

ANWERBESTOPP / Recruitment ban

A recruitment ban for migrant workers issued in 1973 by the Federal Ministry of Labour amidst an “oil crisis” and economic recession, put a stop to work migration to West Germany.

From 1955 to 1973 14 million guest workers from Southern and Southeastern Europe, Northern Africa and Turkey came to the Federal Republic to work, and 11 million had already returned by 1973. Many of the 3 million who were in Germany at the moment of the ANWERBESTOPP stayed and brought their families. In the new legal situation leaving would have meant leaving Germany for good.

One of the many effects of the ban was to transform the function of the asylum system, as asylum migration and family reunification became the only routes to West Germany for most non‐EEC nationals from 1973 onwards. Asylum applications jumped from under 10.000 in 1970 to 100.000 in 1980. The share of applicants from the so-called Third World grew rapidly, whereas until the early 1970s most applicants had come from the socialist East. Racist and right-wing politics used the idiom ASYLBETRUG* / ASYLUM FRAUD* to explain this change, to capitalize on it at the ballot box with an anti-immigrant program and to authorise extra-parlamentary acts of violence. The German LAGERSYSTEM* / CAMP SYSTEM* for asylum seekers was consolidated as a particular form of German anti-immigrant austerity politics of the late 1970s and early 1980s.

The early 1970’s recession and restructuration of production formed the backdrop of the ANWERBESTOPP. Migrant workforce had rebuilt national economies and created the postwar booms in West Europe, but was fired first as the demand of labour was reduced. Immigration controls were tightened in many countries, as if preparing for the European border regime set up in the 1990s. In the transition from Fordism to Postfordism factory work was being outsourced from West Europe to places of cheaper labour. Workers’ and migrant workers’ struggles for better conditions were a significant part of this contested transition. Deportation became important as a disciplinary measure against strikers, protesters and „terrorists“. The German state also developed ambitious return policies to „motivate“ particularly Turkish workers to leave Germany, largely ineffective.

German birth rate began to sink in the year of the ANWERBESTOPP. Family reunification, marriage and parenthood of foreigners in Germany became a greater state concern. German state racism invented „fake marriage“ and „fake fatherhood“.

In East Germany the use of the so-called contract work peaked later and many agreements were concluded after the Western ANWERBESTOPP. The guest worker and contract worker systems were in many ways similar forms of labour exploitation. East Germany recruited workers from socialist „brother countries“ in Africa, Latin America and Asia. After the 1990 German reunification contract workers acutely faced deportation.

ASYLBETRUG / Asylum fraud

An accusatory construction, a tool to criminalise migrants through asylum, a structural feature of the postwar West German asylum system. For right-wing politics a „crime“ to be penalised. Typically operates as a diffuse suspicion against applicants at all stages of the asylum process and after being rejected, of supposedly trying to cheat their way into political asylum and into the German social security system. The punishment and/or prevention of potential ASYLBETRUG includes isolation of migrants and refugees in camps, movement restrictions and work prohibitions (see RESIDENZPFLICHT*, LAGERSYSTEM*, DULDUNG*, also MITWIRKUNGSPFLICHT*, AG RÜCKFÜHRUNG*).

ASYLBETRUG is a cornerstone of German asylum and immigration law. For decades it has served as a central argument for asylum restrictions. It was first used in West Germany as an accusation against the modest numbers of asylum seekers from the socialist countries in the 1950s and 1960s. In the 1970s it became a central instrument of state racism, as asylum was turned into a main route to migrate to the Federal Republic of Germany (see ANWERBESTOPP*). From the late 1970s to 1982 a series of laws consolidated the German camp system for asylum seekers (LAGERSYSTEM*), based on the idea of ASYLBETRUG and deterrance. ASYLBETRUG contributed to the new criminalisation of migration kicking off in the 1970s, consolidated and Europeanised in the 1990s. In the 1990s ASYLBETRUG authorised draconian legal change and pogroms against migrants and refugees in the reunified Germany. It remains until today the rationale of the German asylum system: In 2015 and 2016 a large group of Syrians got a (subsidiary) protection status at costs of other groups who were supposedly trying to cheat their way into asylum. For instance in Bavaria the latter were then imprisoned in so-called transit camps (BLEIBEPERSPEKTIVE*).

On the other hand, for many non-EEC nationals and later third-country nationals ASYLBETRUG has been the only way to come to the Federal Republic of Germany, in the face of the unrealistic criteria of „political asylum“ (RIGHT TO ASYLUM*) and lack of other legal ways to come to Germany.


Defined in § 50 of the German Aufenthaltsgesetz as those who do not or do not anymore possess a valid residence permit and are obliged to leave the country. A permit may expire, is not renewed or an application for a permit is rejected, an AUSWEISUNG* or another type of deportation order (Abschiebeanordnung) issued, or somebody who travelled abroad does not return to Germany in time. After the passing of an announced time period to leave Germany (Ausreisefrist) AUSREISEPFLICHT becomes enforceable by deportation. AUSREISEPFLICHTIGE is also a statistical figure produced by the German Central Register of Foreigners (Ausländerzentralregister) for the highly diverse situations of being obliged to leave the country.

The most significant group of AUSREISEPFLICHTIGE in Germany are people with a suspension of deportation, DULDUNG* (in the end of 2016 ca. 153.000 persons out of 207.000 AUSREISEPFLICHTIGE). Less than half of the people in this group have become AUSREISEPFLICHTIG after the rejection of their asylum application and the exhaustion of legal remedies (69.000). The rest, as well as people in the category AUSREISEPFLICHTIGE without a DULDUNG*, are for instance people who have overstayed their visa, got divorced from their spouses whose residence right they shared or got convicted of a crime and received an AUSWEISUNG* from of Germany. Among AUSREISEPFLICHTIGE are also foreigners who collected welfare or unemployment benefits or ran out of money while studying in Germany. Most AUSREISEPFLICHTIGE are third country nationals, but also EU-citizens figure in these statistics (see 2016 statistics and this inquiry).

AUSREISEPFLICHTIGE is a political tool for German anti-immigration and pro-deportation demagogues (see e.g. AG RÜCKFÜHRUNG*), the conservative and rightwing politicians who are capitalizing on anxieties and catching votes with a racist discourse, and for the extra-parliamentary right. AUSREISEPFLICHTIGE spreads in the media during periodically recurring deportation hysteria when demands for harsher immigration control and law enforcement are amplified. For instance the mediatisation and instrumentalisation of the 2015 new year’s „events“ at the Cologne railway station clearly shows how the category AUSREISEPFLICHTIGE is not racially neutral and often also has gender – the deportation of “Arab”, “(North)African” or “dark” men who were accused of harrassing white women was then called for. Racist discourse translates the figure as „criminal foreigners“ and “economic refugees”, deliberately ignoring the vagueness of the category and lack of precise data of who the people “obliged to leave” Germany in fact are (AG RÜCKFÜHRUNG*). Pro-deportation discourse conceals the fact that AUSREISEPFLICHTIGE is actually a product of German immigration law.

The German immigration administration does not produce information on the AUSREISEPFLICHTIGE. The main information source are the Left Party’s brief parliamentary enquiries to which the German government is obliged to answer with numbers requested from the Central Register of Foreign Nationals. These are both scarce and unreliable. Recently for instance an „error“ of 40.000 names was discovered in the register.

AUSWEISUNG / Expulsion

A type of deportation order, an administrative act ordering a third country national to leave Germany on the grounds that her/his presence „endangers the public security and order, the principles of free democracy or other significant interests of the Federal Republic of Germany“ (§ 53 Aufenthaltsgesetz). AUSWEISUNG (expulsion) is issued by the Foreigners’ Authority (Ausländerbehörde).

The function of an AUSWEISUNG is to terminate an existing residence permit or visa, yet a hidden AUSWEISUNG may be included in the rejection of an application for a permit. AUSWEISUNG differs from Abschiebung (deportation), which is the act of removal by force or the enforcement of the AUSREISEPFLICHT*. Thus an Abschiebung can be preceded by an AUSWEISUNG, but does not require it. For instance after the rejection of an asylum application, a deportation threat (Abschiebeandrohung) is sufficient. AUSWEISUNG includes a re-entry ban which duration varies.

AUSWEISUNG is in public imagination often associated with criminal convictions. Many grounds and cases for AUSWEISUNG however do not require conviction, such as drug use, collecting social benefits or fake identity (see § 54 of the Aufenthaltsgesetz for a listing). The foreigners’ authority (Ausländerbehörde) as a rule refuses to grant a residency permit if some ground for AUSWEISUNG is present. This constitutes a hidden AUSWEISUNG. For instance, persons with a DULDUNG* applying for a residence permit can be rejected, if the foreigners’ authority accuses them of having given false or incomplete informations for a visa, asylum or DULDUNG* application (see MITWIRKUNGSPFLICHT*). Giving false or incomplete informations on one’s identity is explicitly a grounds for AUSWEISUNG since the 2016 legal reform. The criminal provisions of the immigration law (§ 95 Aufenthaltsgesetz) also define this “crime of identity” as punishable with up to three years in prison. In this case no conviction is necessary, the „criminal“ foreigner can be directly expelled. There are no statistics available on the extent and effect of the hidden AUSWEISUNG or this kind of use of the criminal provisions (see Rex Osa; Kay Wendel; CRIMMIGRATION*).

The AUSWEISUNG is supposedly a purely administrative measure, but constitutes in fact a punishment and a (further) criminalisation, both when the foreigner is actually forced to leave, or when s/he manages to stay in Germany with a DULDUNG* or in full “illegality”. In case of regular criminal convicts, AUSWEISUNG amounts to a “double punishment” after the regular sentence. Summed up with the prolonged entry ban to Germany and thus to the whole EU (SCHENGEN INFORMATION SYSTEM*) this becomes a “triple punishment”.

The German state doesn’t keep statistics of AUSWEISUNG and the decision making of the foreigners’ authority is not transparent. The brief parliamentary enquiries by the Left Party reveal some figures, yet the hidden AUSWEISUNG is not included in these. In public debates AUSWEISUNG continues to refer to „criminal foreigners“ who have been convicted, not for instance to rejected asylum seekers without identity papers. On the other hand the AUSWEISUNG of „real criminals“ – meaning third country nationals convicted of non-immigration related crimes – is not strongly challenged in Germany. Discussion or protest against “double” or “triple punishment” (see above) has in Germany been much less pronounced than for instance in France. Also racist investigation, charging or sentencing practices against third country nationals in Germany have passed with less uproar.

The aim of the thoroughgoing legal reform of the AUSWEISUNG in 2016 was to bring legal text closer to the practice of courts and the administration. Its impact on administrative practice and jurisprudence of remains unclear.


A technique of identification, codifies and reads the human body. Used by the EU to control the mobility of third country nationals. Developed in the 19th century to keep „deviant“, „undesired“, „criminal“ and „foreign“ subjects in check, and to produce racist knowledge of „natives“ in colonial contexts.

Together with visa regulations and databases, BIOMETRICS promises an individualised, flexible and total control of mobility. During the last decade the EU has dreamed up a racial BIOMETRICS dystopia with scanners and gates letting EU-citizens and other „desired“ human capital through and keeping “human waste” out. BIOMETRICS constructs the selection mechanism as a technical question.

BIOMETRICS was tested on third country nationals in such pilot projets as the EURODAC database for asylum seeker fingerprints. It was then introduced to EU citizens passports, and increasingly also promoted by the EU in countries of origin of potential migrants to Europe. The large scale introduction of BIOMETRIC passports in these countries is expected to close such „loopholes“ of the EU border regime which depend on uncleared identity (e.g. DULDUNG*, MOBILE EMBASSY HEARING*) or overstaying visas and to displace the control of the EU external borders to other countries (EXTERNALISATION*, Inna Touré).

Resistance to BIOMETRIC identification include the burning of fingertips, the refusal to submit to identification procedures or not taking a passport. Large scale (solidarity) campaigns, for instance EU-citizens destroying their BIOMETRIC passports, are yet to be seen. Besides resistance, technical unreliability is another important factor unsettling the BIOMETRICS dystopia.

BIOMETRICS was developed in the colonial context of South Africa and India against the „natives“ and brought to Europe to control „criminals“ and representatives of „dangerous“ classes. European innovators and popularisers of the technique include Francis Galton, Alphonse Bertillon and Cesare Lombroso, all promoters of scientific racism. In contemporary applications, such as the EURODAC which guarantees the operation of the Dublin system for asylum seekers, or the SMART BORDERS project of „intelligent“ EU border control, the technique is again applied on racialised subjects from the former colonies of Europe.

BLEIBEPERSPEKTIVE / Perspective to stay

A tool to divide asylum seekers in an ongoing asylum process into different categories with different rights. The term entered German law making with the 2015 influx of asylum seekers.

As such segregation is a structural feature of the German asylum system. Since 2015 those with a ‘good perspective to stay’ are distinguished from those with a ‘poor perspective to stay’. The latter are deprived of rights such as free mobility within Germany (RESIDENZPFLICHT*), free choice of accommodation and city, work permits or language courses. The Integration Law of 2016 forbids even recognised refugees from choosing their place of living for the first three years in Germany. Worse off, asylum seekers with a ‘poor BLEIBEPERSPEKTIVE’ are to be kept in isolated first accommodation camps under RESIDENZPFLICHT* for the duration of the whole asylum process until deportation. They cannot even visit other parts of Germany.

BLEIBEPERSPEKTIVE naturalises segregration based on nationalities (not to mention races). When the so-called protection quote (Schutzquote) of a given nationality is over 50%, the BLEIBEPERSPEKTIVE is ‘good’. The exclusive list of such nationalities currently includes five countries: Syria, Iraq, Iran, Somalia and Eritrea. BLEIBEPERSPEKTIVE preselects groups of people for deportation at arrival and even before they reach Germany, in Southern Europe, in Africa and Asia. It also naturalises the obligation to ask for protection when reaching Europe (RIGHT TO ASYLUM*).

BLEIBEPERSPEKTIVE continues the racist tradition of the German asylum system in the era of a ‘welcome culture’ (Willkommenskultur). Merkel’s Germany wants to appear open and welcoming of refugees yet without investing in ‘welcoming services’ for those who will anyway have to leave as they don’t have the RIGHT TO ASYLUM* (see also ASYLBETRUG*). Under BLEIBEPERSPEKTIVE old policies, such as the RESIDENZPFLICHT*, have been reintroduced, policies which many people in Germany thought of as overturned in the wake of the intense 2012-2014 refugee protest movement.

BLEIBEPERSPEKTIVE is also an instrument to separate the ‘desired’ human capital from the ‘undesired’. The German economy or employer side has since 2015 explicitly announced its interest in asylum seekers. The Federal Ministry of the Interior has assumed its role as a job centre. It has constructed a proximity of those with a ‘poor’ BLEIBEPERSPEKTIVE with those who ‘do not want to’ work or integrate – that is, who refuse to speak German, behave according to the law or to take a job – and therefore deserve the subhuman treatment assigned to them.

BLEIBERECHT / Right to stay

As a legal concept in German aliens law, BLEIBERECHT of third country nationals refers to a variety of substandard residence statuses, with poor social security and vulnerability to deportation, and thus set apart from the nationals’ and EU-citizens’ secured position. In debates on asylum migration BLEIBERECHT refers usually to precarious permits to which rejected asylum seekers, third country nationals, may have access at the administration’s discretion (e.g. Gesetz zur Neubestimmung des Bleiberechts und der Aufenthaltsbeendigung, 2015). Many exclusion grounds make it extremely difficult to access these temporary permits (see DULDUNG*, MITWIRKUNGSPFLICHT*, AUSWEISUNG*). Getting this kind of permit (e.g. as defined in §23 or § 25 Aufenthaltsgesetz) often means a continuation of the struggle for social and working rights and the fear of a future non-renewal and deportation.

BLEIBERECHT has been a central demand of many refugee and migrant rights’ campaigns in Germany, e.g. under the slogan ‘BLEIBERECHT for all’. These debates have often centered around the institution of asylum (see also RECHT AUF ASYL*, DULDUNG*) and argued for the rights or rejected asylum claimants. Discussion of the right of third country nationals to enter and stay in Germany without a mandatory examination of the asylum claim has remained marginal in Germany, even in many of these campaigns.


The merger of criminal justice system and immigration control in the US since the 1990s, or the criminalisation of migration in Western Europe. Both harder sentencing of foreigners of regular crimes and a growing catalogue of immigration related „crimes“ can be understood as CRIMMIGRATION. In Germany immigration related “crimes” are codified in the criminal provisions of immigration law, § 95 of the Aufenthaltsgesetz. The institution of asylum is important for German CRIMMIGRATION (see for instance DULDUNG*, AUSREISEPFLICHTIGE*, ASYLBETRUG*, MITWIRKUNGSPFLICHT*, RESIDENZPFLICHT*).

In a broader sense CRIMMIGRATION is not a new phenomenon but a tradition of the European modern-racial nation state: Arguably German or European immigration law is by definition CRIMMIGRATION law, always casting the immigrant, foreigner or the third country national, or even somebody who ‘looks’ like one, as a criminal suspect and a risk.

From a historical perspective, the German tradition of aliens police/policy (Ausländerpolizei/Ausländerpolitik) is a particular version of CRIMMIGRATION. The first West German aliens law in 1965 introduced a group of crimes which only foreigners can commit: entry and residence without a valid visa or permit, not having a passport, giving incomplete or false identity information to the immigration authorities or resisting identification, and others. Later more were invented, such as the repeated violation of internal movement restrictions (RESIDENZPFLICHT* since 1982) or help at „illegal entry“, commonly called „smuggling“ or „trafficking“. The reform of the aliens law in 1990 and the new immigration law of 2005 (Zuwanderungsgesetz / Aufenthaltsgesetz for third country nationals) extended the catalogue of criminal provisions of the immigration law and hardened the penalisation.

The 1965 West German aliens law also first required an individually issued visa for all foreigners who arrived in Germany (with the important exception of those seeking asylum). This amounted to a general entry ban with exceptions at the discretion of the immigration administration, in case the presence of the foreigner was judged as beneficial to the the Federal Republic. In these cases there was a chance but no guarantee of a permit. Official legal commentary suggested furthermore that the very presence of persons of non-European origin was against the state interest (Kanein 1966, see also ANWERBESTOPP*). This legal tradition, the backdrop of German CRIMMIGRATION, has continuity until today.

In German CRIMMIGRATION the line between crimes (Straftat) and mere offenses (Ordnungswidrichkeiten) gets blurry. Punishments may not be defined as such by the state, but can be in effect more penalising than regular criminal punishments (see AUSWEISUNG*). Detention and deportation but also other administrative sanctions, like work prohibition, movement restrictions (RESIDENZPFLICHT*) or zero social benefits, have an extreme effect on a human being (see also MITWIRKUNGSPFLICHT*). DULDUNG*, the ongoing exclusion from the legal right of residence, is itself experienced as a punishment. In this case the ‘crime’ seems to be the mere presence of the third country national in Germany (see above).

Racial profiling by the German police, contested by refugee, migrant and PoC groups, is closely linked to the § 95 of the Aufenthaltsgesetz and other paragraphs of the immigration law. The police seeks to control people who in police person’s eyes look like third country nationals. This is one of the practices which makes the racial dimension of German immigration law tangible.

More info: Rex Osa, FILE: Jarboh.

DULDUNG / Toleration

DULDUNG (literally “toleration”), the temporal suspension of deportation. The stay of a third country national will be “tolerated” (geduldet) with an administrative act in case the deportation cannot be enforced due to a legal or a factual obstacle. When the obstacle disappears, the DULDUNG expires. For instance the lack of travel documents, sickness, parenthood, closed travel routes or a crisis situation in the country of origin can hinder a deportation.

The DULDUNG is not a residence permit. The „tolerated“ person remains obliged to leave the country (vollziehbar AUSREISEPFLICHTIG), the deportation order is enforceable anytime. The DULDUNG must be renewed every certain period by the foreigners’ authority, in case the obstacle for deportation persists, for instance, a week, month or six months. Repeated renewal leads to a „chain of toleration” (KettenDULDUNG), a prolonged, permanently precarious stay in Germany with restricted basic rights.

DULDUNG is an extremely contested topic: Some see Duldung as protection against deportation, even treat it as a second class residence permit. The “tolerated” individuals, painfully aware of the criminalisation the Duldung entails, still see themselves as entitled to a legal residence in Germany – for good reasons. For others again Duldung is simply „illegal“ or illegalised residence and should be penalised.

According to the law (§ 60 a AufenthG) DULDUNG does not grant lawful (rechtmäßig) stay. It therefore defines DULDUNG as a limbo status: The stay is not completely „illegal“, will officially not be sanctioned and is not a punitive measure. Yet the law in fact enables multiple sanctions. These become particularly aggravated when the DULDUNG serves as the basis for long term residence in the country.

Most of the sanctions are based on the concept of MITWIRKUNGSPFLICHTEN, the obligations to collaborate in identification procedures for deportation. This unclear legal concept which largely lets the foreigners’ administration define when the “tolerated” person is intentionally hiding her identity, destroying national identification documents or obstructing attempts to acquire valid travel documentation for deportation from his or her embassy (see MOBILE EMBASSY HEARING, MITWIRKUNGSPFLICHTEN). Typical sanctions for “offenders” include obligatory camp accommodation in isolation, work ban, probition to leave the district (RESIDENZPFLICHT), reduced or no pocket money, no access to regular health care.

Also criminal sactions are possible: The § 95 and § 98 of the AufenthG define several “migration offences” which are regularly used against “tolerated” persons, such as “unauthorised residence without a passport” (§ 95 Abs.1 Nr. 1 AufenthG oder nach § 98 Abs. 2 Nr.3 AufenthG). The prosecution and sentencing depends on the discretion of the criminal justice system. These paragraphs also enables the foreigners’ authority to ban a „tolerated“ person for good from regularising her status (see CRIMMIGRATION).

The concept of MITWIRKUNGSPFLICHTEN has served through the many regularization amendments (Bleiberechtsregelungen), as an instrument to separate between the “good” and the “bad” “tolerated”. The latter, a significant group or people, have been continuously excluded from the offers for regularisation of long term “tolerated” stay.


More info: Rex Osa, Kay Wendel, Salomon Wantchoucou, Fadi Abdel Ghani, Mobile hearing in Dortmund, Alex Nuhu Banja, Kettenduldung.


self-deportation, assisted or unassisted. Preferred by the EU member states as a cheaper and ideologically more acceptable alternative to „forced“ deportation. Serves also to legitimate additional use of force and deprivation of basic rights, such as special laws for people who refuse to return „voluntarily“. Does not appear in deportation statistics. However no less based on force and violence than regular deportation, be it in the form of a special program for VOLUNTARY RETURN, or as a more diffuse strategy of threats, substandard living conditions and criminalisation until “voluntary” departure (see e.g. LAGERSYSTEM*, DULDUNG*, ASYLBETRUG*, MITWIRKUNGSFPLICHT*, CRIMMIGRATION*). The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has importantly contributed to the standardisation of special programs and adoption of VOLUNTARY RETURN as a „best practice“ in many countries throughout the world.

The so-called departure centers (Ausreisezentren), a German invention of the 1990s, have been one application of the idea of VOLUNTARY RETURN. Today many camps under a different name, such as „transit camps“ or even the first accommodation centers (Erstaufnahmeeinrichtungen) for people with „poor“ BLEIBEPERSPEKTIVE* apply a similar idea. People are subjected to a strict RESIDENZPFLICHT*, work prohibition and daily registration obligation. The extremely penalising conditions are legitimized with the excuse that the inmates could return „voluntarily“ to their countries. Dehumanising sanctions against people with DULDUNG* also require VOLUNTARY RETURN as a legitimizing construction.


the outsourcing of national border control functions to other states or other actors such as airline companies or embassy employees; the geographic extension of national border controls beyond national territory. Materialised for instance as extraterritorial detention camps in transit countries, the militarisation of border zones, police controls at transportation hubs and as painstaking visa procedures in countries of origin and transit. Characteristic of the EU border regime particularly since the early 2000s, yet conceived already in the 1986 Schengen Accords. These „abolished“ internal EU borders for EU citizens and at the same time multiplied, internalised and externalised, EU’s external borders for third country nationals.

Since the fall of the Berlin wall the EU has sought to set up buffer zones in its Eastern and South Eastern neighbour countries. The reunified Germany lead this development in early 1990s by pushing for READMISSION AGREEMENTS* with its Eastern neighbours, for the principle of safe third countries and for the European Dublin system for asylum seekers. The EU enlargement to postsocialist countries has continued the process of EU’s border EXTERNALISATION. The candidate countries’ aliens laws were quickly adjusted to the EU’s needs, particularly in terms of termination of stay and detention of third country nationals.

During the last decade the EU has directed its attention to its Southern border. Efforts to contract or to blackmail African countries to prevent African nationals from entering EU territory have been intensified, combined with pressures to readmit deportees from Europe. Development aid is systematically used as leverage in the EU EXTERNALISATION agenda which seeks to outsource border control tasks, policing and detention centers to African countries and to promote the introduction of BIOMETRICS*. The current Valletta Process since 2015, following Rabat and Khartoum processes, systematises and expands the EXTERNALISATION agenda. Recently it has been increasingly packaged together with pro-European investment and trade policies seeking to grab hold of African resources and markets (see Ousmane Diarra, Mignane Diouf, “Stop the Valletta!”, Demonstration in front of the Embassy of Mali).

For many African critics the current extension of European borders to African territory is simply the most recent phase in a tradition of colonial and neocolonial EU-Africa relations. The longstanding European interest to appropriate African resources, labour and markets can be traced back to the Berlin Conference 1884-5 during the colonisation of Africa and further back to slavery.

GASTRECHT / Guest right

literally ‘guest law’ or ‘guest right’. Makes foreigner’s right of residence in Germany conditional on his/her good behaviour. An idea of hospitality (Gastfreundschaft) inscribed in German aliens law which centers on the benevolence of the ‘host’ and requires that the foreigners, defined as ‘guests’, act in the ‘hosts’ benefit.

The idea of GASTRECHT appeared in Prussian orders of the 1920s. The 1938 Aliens Police Order of the Nazis, in force until 1965 in West Germany, allowed the foreigner to stay on national territory as long as s/he was worthy (würdig) of hospitality. In 1965 the first West German aliens law replaced this formulation with the „substantial interests of the Federal Republic of Germany“. Foreigners were no longer guaranteed a right of residence based on good behaviour. They were now required an individual visa for entry, to be applied beforehand (with the exception of asylum seekers). Entry was thus now in principle prohibited, and only allowed with individual permission. This could be granted if the foreigner’s presence did not harm Germany’s interests, but was not guaranteed by law.

Despite the erasure of GASTRECHT from legal text in 1965, the term remains in use and alive particularly in German debates on deportation and AUSWEISUNG*. In 1997 the Social Democrat Chancellor Gerhard Schöder said to the Bild Zeitung: „Who misuses our GASTRECHT, shall be given no other option than to leave, and better be fast!““

The Willkommenskultur (Culture of Welcome) has since 2015, under Merkel’s leadership, been officially hyped as a popular attitude to accommodate refugees in Germany. In its dominant forms this culture continues the tradition of the GASTRECHT, by assuming ‘hosts’ and ‘guests’, of which the former are assumed to be natives, the latter temporarily and precariously present.


MITWIRKUNGSPFLICHT / Obligation to cooperate

The obligation of a third country national to collaborate with German immigration authorities in his or her own deportation. Consists mainly of the obligation to identify oneself and to acquire the necessary travel documents for deportation from one’s (supposed) national embassy. When immigration authorities suspect someone of resisting these measures, they can impose sanctions. For instance the work permit can be withdrawn or refused, pocket money cut to zero or additional movement restrictions imposed. Court processes might be used in a similar way to put pressure on a subject who is suspected of hiding his or her identity or passport. Since the 1990s sanctions seem to have acquired systemacity. All legal reforms intended to regularise long term „tolerated“ (DULDUNG*) since the early 2000s have excluded persons suspected of breaching their MITWIRKUNGSPFLICHT, which has invalidated these reforms from the beginning (see also CRIMMIGRATION*, MOBILE EMBASSY HEARING* and Kay Wendel).


A hearing to identify deportees. A regional foreigners’ authority in Germany invites either embassy officials from Berlin or an external delegation from the third country in question to identify its presumed citizens. German border police and the foreigners’ authority are present at the hearing. The invitees are typically persons with a DULDUNG* whose nationality has not been cleared or who are not in possession of the necessary documents. A valid passport or a passport replacement, such as an emergency travel certificate issued by the national embassy, is required for deportation.

The MOBILE (EMBASSY) HEARING was pioneered by the Hamburg foreigners’ authority in the 1990s. The working group AG RÜCKFÜHRUNG* has promoted the practice on the federal level, mostly for the nationals of  30 „problem countries“. This list includes mostly African countries and some Asian countries, such as Pakistan (see AG RÜCK report). AG RÜCK* also accuses the embassies themselves of non-collaboration – a racist practice complementary with the individual MITWIRKUNGSPFLICHT*.

Numerous protests, often migrant and refugee lead, have since the early 2000’s challenged the practice of ordering „tolerated“ Black persons of presumedly African nationality to different African embassies for identification. Activists have confronted the objectifying and colonial-racist identification methods, the use of force, the unreliability of the procedure as well as the very justification of deportation as such (see Nigerian embassy protest actions, Mobile hearing in Dortmund, Demonstration in front of the Embassy of Mali, Rex Osa). The cases of Yusupha Jarboh and Joseph Koroma  make evident the excesses of this type of repression. The Gambian Jarboh and the Sierra Leonean Koroma were deported to Nigeria as Nigerian citizens (see Jarboh’s and Koroma’s testimony).

Forced identification is problematic and labourious, not least due to the resistance of the likes of Jarboh and Koroma. For “efficiency’s sake” the EU pushes for BIOMETRICS* in the countries of origin and for an EU document for deportation. The EU laissez-passer, issued by any member state for the deportation of a third country national, has so far been refused by most African countires (see Ousmane Diarra, Inna Touré, Demonstration in front of the Embassy of Mali). In some cases Germany has tried to deport people merely with a GRENZÜBERSCHRITTBESCHEINIGUNG*.

LAGERSYSTEM / Camp system

the decentralised system of asylum seeker accommodation in Germany. Based on the isolation of the applicants and rejected applicants in camps often located in remote places, after a computer system has assigned them to a given Bundesland.

The camp system was consolidated from the late 1970s to 1982 after the numbers of applicants went up (ANWERBESTOPP* in 1973) and the majority now came from developing countries instead of the socialist East. The main objective was to deter asylum migration and to encourage applicants to leave Germany (ASYLBETRUG*). The camp system with a poor standard of living for a racialised migrant population was part of the neoliberal Kohl government’s austerity policies. The system remains similar today. Camps are often located in old barracks, rundown buildings outside of towns, or sport halls or containers, offering an easy target for neonazi attacks, working hand in hand with government policies of isolation (see Salomon Wantchoucou). The camp inhabitants are regularly denied the right to work, or mobility rights within Germany (RESIDENZPFLICHT*). They often receive their social benefits in kind instead of money, as unpalatable food and as clothes.

The system has been fiercely challenged by refugee and migrant selforganisation since the 1990s, yet despite local successes it seems to reproduce itself, often through „special regulations“ for „special groups“. For instance, in the wake of the refugee protests of 2012-2014 during which the protesters broke the RESIDENZPFLICHT* and occupied the Oranienplatz and a school in Berlin Kreuzberg, the obligation to stay in one’s assigned camp and the RESIDENZPFLICHT* were somewhat loosened. Yet the new laws after the 2015 „crisis“ have reintroduced these (BLEIBEPERSPEKTIVE*). Some of the new type of camps, such as the Bavarian transit camps for applicants „without a perspective to stay“ are possibly worse than the old ones.

Camp accommodation of „aliens“ has a long history in Germany: Before the LAGERSYSTEM, the guest worker and contract worker camps, before that the concentration and forced labour camps. The first German detention camps were established in the 1920s for Polish workers destined for deportation.

RECHT AUF ASYL / Asylum right

RESIDENZPFLICHT / Movement restrictions

movement restrictions for asylum applicants within Germany, as well as for rejected applicants with an enforceable deportation order (DULDUNG*). In force in West Germany since 1982. Visits beyond the given area of Germany are only allowed with special permission, always to be separately requested and often denied despite the request. The permitted area depends on the case, it might be the whole Bundesland, the group of municipalities of the responsible foreigners’ authority (Landeskreis), or an even smaller area. Quite often visits to the next bigger town are only allowed with special permission. In 2014, in the wake of intense refugee and migrant protest, RESIDENZPFLICHT was being loosened and German politicians argued, it was even being „abolished“. Yet it was kept for „exceptions“ and reintroduced again for larger groups of people in a series of new laws after the „refugee crisis“ in 2015. RESIDENZPFLICHT completes the isolation of the German LAGERSYSTEM* for asylum seekers and „tolerated“ (DULDUNG*) by sealing it off.

Breaches of RESIDENZPFLICHT are criminalised under the § 95 of the Aufenthaltsgesetz (CRIMMIGRATION*). People do resist and regularly breach the RESIDENZPFLICHT. The selforganised refugee and migrant movement in Germany has resisted the law by collective breaching (e.g. the Refugee protest march to Berlin in 2012 or numerous court cases of activists who refused to pay fines and went to jail). The movement has compared RESIDENZPFLICHT to colonial „pass laws“ that restricted the „natives“ movements within the colony. Activists have also drawn attention to the close ties between RESIDENZPFLICHT and racial profiling by the German police.


An EU directive issued in 2008, setting guidelines for a common deportation policy of the Union. Has since then served as a reference document for initiatives to “harmonise” and enhance EU return practices both in individual single member state legislation (e.g. Finnish law on VOLUNTARY RETURN* in 2015) and at the EU level (e.g. The EU Commission’s EU Action Plan on return in 2015). Contributes to the production of a DEPORTATION GAP* for instance by obliging the member states to issue a deportation order to any person encountered without a valid permit on the national territory.

RÜCKFÜHRUNGSABKOMMEN / Readmission agreement

an agreement trading human bodies to other goods, such as development aid, investments or trade preferences. Currently pushed by the EU particularly on African states to accept the forced return of their citizens or presumed citizens from Europe. Pioneered by Germany in the early 1990s with its Eastern neighbours, constructing buffer zones of the German border regime and coupled with border EXTERNALISATION*.


VOLLZUGSDEFIZIT / Deportation gap





The working group CULTURE OF DEPORTATION from 2015 to 2017:


Rex Osa (refugee activist, Stuttgart)

Aino Korvensyrjä (PhD researcher / activist, Helsinki & Berlin)
Claudio Feliziani (filmmaker / activist, Berlin)


In 2014 Kin Chui (activist / artist, Singapore & Vienna) accompanied Osa

to make video documentations and interviews in West Africa and Germany.


The blog development continues with Osa,  Korvensyrjä and David Jassey (migrants’ rights activist / Berlin).