Coordinating Immigrant Integration in Germany: Mainstreaming at the federal and local levels
In contrast to other European countries, the idea of "mainstreaming" immigrant integration policy—the practice of reaching people with a migration background through social programming and policies that address the needs of the general population—has not caught on among policymakers in Germany. Although characterized by fragmented policies scattered across many levels of government with little vertical coordination, integration policy in Germany has made many strides over the past decade. Still, civil-society organizations and employees in public services continue to call for a shift away from policymaking that targets specific groups, and toward measures directed at society, or young people, as a whole.
This report explores the history and recent trends of integration policy in Germany, focusing on the past 15 years, when immigrant integration became an important issue. Aside from matters of nationality, freedom of movement, and passports, which are the exclusive domain of the federal government, and matters of education, which are up to the Länder (state-level governments) to decide, integration has consisted of a tangled web of overlapping and unclear legislative jurisdiction. Integration policy, which cuts across areas such as education, labor, and urban development, also suffers from a lack of horizontal coordination across various governmental departments and across states.
The report also examines various integration measures taken by the federal, Länder, and local governments as well as civil-society actors, including those that have attempted to reach the general population and those targeted at specific groups. Young people have been a particular focus of many projects, in a country where one-fourth of the estimated 15.6 million people with an immigrant background are under the age of 25.
The report is one in a comparative research project conducted in collaboration with the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS) at the University of Oxford and Erasmus University in Rotterdam.
I. Introduction: The Context of Immigration and Integration in Germany
II. Mainstreaming: To What Extent and How Deliberate?
A. Cooperation across Levels and Actors
B. Youth as a Central Focus
C. Educational Policy
D. Employment Policy
III. Conclusion: Where to From Here?
A. Evaluation of Integration Policies for Germany’s Youth
B. Policy Recommendations for the Central Government