Coping with the Challenge of Migration in German Municipalities

Dr. Uwe Hunger
Prof. Norbert Kersting

Within the years 2013-2017, Germany has received more than a million migrants and refugees – more than ever before in its history. This mass migration challenges Germany in many ways, especially with regards to the long-term integration process of the refugees. While widely debated on the federal political level, the execution and management of the integration process mostly occurs on the local level, since the municipalities are responsible to provide the concrete integration measures in many social areas such as housing, health issues, language courses, etc.. The paper provides a systematic analysis of the role of local governments in the German federal system and analyses the different approaches of various municipalities in dealing with the challenges of migration and integration. The paper also highlights the challenges faced at the municipal level especially with regard to xenophobia. The paper is based on several case studies of German cities regarding various aspects of integration in municipalities. The data has been conducted mainly through interviews with local authorities, civil society and the migrants themselves.