Local transformations and asylum-seeker reception
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This project investigates how German municipalities dealt with the arrival of a larger number of asylum-seekers in recent years, with a particular focus on structural changes induced by this new immigration. The rapid immigration of refugees in 2015/16 entailed a number of important changes in national and European migration and asylum policies and laws; the municipal level, however, is central when it comes to dealing with the actual people who have arrived and with the ‘processing’ of the situation with the instruments of the welfare state. The main research questions therefore are: How did German municipalities deal with this situation? How did members of local administrations experience what is often labelled as the ‘refugee crisis’? Did the new immigration of asylum-seekers lead to changes in the structures within these municipalities? Why (not)? The study is based on a comparison of three municipalities: Göttingen, Oldenburg, and Delmenhorst. These are two small cities and one mid-sized town, all located in Lower Saxony, which allows me to keep the political and legal context ‘constant’. The data consist primarily of interviews with members of these three municipalities’ administrations at different levels and with further local actors, and of documents published by the municipalities. This project is part of the “WiMi” initiative.