New draft for naturalization law: Faeser does not hit the mark

The planned reform of naturalization is fundamentally correct. Nancy Faeser rhetorically sells herself unnecessarily to the Union and FDP when communicating.

Nancy Faser

Federal Interior Minister Nancy Faeser (SPD) Photo: Nadja Wohlleben / Reuters

Progress in citizenship reform is good news. The plans that Faeser and Buschmann have agreed on do away with many of the completely outdated regulations that have been in force up to now: Instead of eight years, five years of residence in Germany should be enough for naturalization, under certain conditions even three. And the long-fought dual citizenship should finally be possible. All of this is urgently needed if Germany is to become a modern immigration country, as the traffic light intends to do.

The rhetoric with which Faeser accompanied the draft is remarkable. She emphasized in particular who cannot be naturalized, namely racists, sexists and anti-Semites – just as if enemies of democracy were threatening to overrun the German authorities with naturalization applications.

However, the reality is quite different. The vast majority of foreigners who live here are cosmopolitan and make an important contribution to society. Enabling them to naturalize more easily and quickly is also in the interest of the German economy, which is already suffering from the shortage of skilled workers. Among those who would benefit from the reform are many who once came to the Federal Republic as “guest workers” and have contributed to the current prosperity in this country. It is long overdue to finally give them German citizenship without having to give up their previous ones and without having to pass strict language tests.

Faeser’s conservative sound is probably intended not to alienate the FDP and to anticipate criticism from the Union. CSU regional group head Alexander Dobrindt had already etched that German citizenship was in danger of being “sold off”. One may find it understandable that Faeser wants to forestall conservative criticism. But it doesn’t do the social climate any favors.

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