WEST GERMANY: Closing the Door on Refugees

Tough new restrictions on political asylum

Blessed with a thriving economy and one of the world's most generous political-asylum laws, West Germany has long been a mecca for refugees. That traditional open-door attitude toward political exiles is now being severely tested. Officials estimate that more than 150,000 foreigners will seek asylum in West Germany this year, compared with fewer than 3,000 a decade ago. Most of the immigrants, it appears, come in search of jobs rather than sanctuary, and nine out of every ten refugees requesting asylum will eventually be turned down. But under West Germany's cumbersome judicial procedures, it...

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