Start of campaign: Legalization now!

As a kickoff of the campaign “Legalization now!” a press conference took place on October 12th 2020 accompanied by a public letter. Together with many other groups and alongside illegalized migrants we demand the legalization of all migrants without a resident permit in Berlin!

Website of the campaign: https://www.legalisierungjetzt.net/

Article in nd (German): “Raus aus der Unischtbarkeit”

Open letter for the permanent and undconditional legalisation of all undocumented and illegalised migrants

The current situation calls on us as a network of migrant and anti-racist groups
and organizations in Berlin to demand the permanent and unconditional
legalization of all migrants without residence documents in this country.
It is estimated that between 60,000 and 100,000 undocumented migrants live in
Berlin. There are many reasons why they are in this situation. The situation of
this social group is marked by precariousness and social invisibility. They suffer
from lack of access to health, housing, education, decent work and exercise of a
free life, which shows that human rights are not for everyone.

The majority of those made vulnerable by illegalization come from the Global
South and are racialized, that is, they are people of colour categorized in
different “races” under the white supremacist gaze. They are largely women or
feminized bodies. The reality of women and sexual dissidents in this situation is
particularly difficult. When experiencing gender violence, they do not have
access to the resources necessary to denounce and access support services.
However, the situation of men in illegality also has its particular difficulties, for
instance the exposure to police controls and abuse through racial profiling,
when accessing jobs in public spaces.

The inequality between the Global South and the Global North as a historical
reality demands that European governments take political responsibility. While
the policies of the EU continue to privilege financial agreements and the
exploitation of natural resources to the detriment of the peoples and territories
of the Global South, at the same time retrograde migration policies are being
consolidated. These criminalize the human right to mobility for a large majority.
Goods can move, but people cannot.

As a result of these policies, people are being made illegal and consequently
criminalized, turning them into a perfect target for both in illegal and legal
activities that serve the interests of big capital and the German economy. Such
are for instance care work (taking care of people, including children, cleaning
etc ), construction and agriculture.

In the German context we have two particular problems: On one hand the
policies of criminalization, persecution and control of migration, on the other,
the silencing of this reality in the German society. Both contribute to rendering
the undocumented population invisible. One example of this politically produced
invisibility the lack of qualitative and quantitative data, which prevents us from
knowing how many they are, where they are and which urgencies are pressing
them.

A similar situation prevails in many other EU countries. It should be however
mentioned, that during the COVID 19 crisis Portugal legalized all migrantswhose residence permit applications were pending and Italy issued special
residence permits, which to this day has had no negative consequences for the
society. In other countries, such as France and Spain, campaigns are underway
calling for similar measures.

Today, facing a global pandemic, it is time to break the taboo and proceed
towards full citizenship rights for all undocumented migrants. That is why we
demand the following from the corresponding authorities:

1.The extraordinary, universal, urgent and permanent legalization of all
migrants in an irregular situation in Berlin.2. That the procedure to be implemented towards this put migrants at
the center as subjects with rights and guarantee the concrete access to
and the promotion of these rights.3. Legalization by means of existing legal instruments such as § 23 (1) of
the Residence Act (AufenthG), which could be used to grant residence to
persons in an irregular migration status on humanitarian grounds.
4. Abolition of paragraph 87 of the Residence Act (which requires that
employees of public bodies, with the exception of educational bodies,
transfer to the immigration authority (Ausländerbehörde) the personal
data of anyone in an illegal situation).

Although the COVID 19 crisis has exposed and exacerbated existing social
inequalities, illegalized persons are particularly affected as they do not enjoy full
citizenship as subjects with rights. These times demand a lot of responsibility
and solidarity from us and it is vital to demand that illegalized people do not
remain adrift; that is why we urge civil society and possible allies in the political
sphere to listen to our demands, based on the legitimate right to a dignified life.
We are especially calling on all political and social organizations to join the
initiatives that we have worked on in the framework of this struggle.

It is also important to remember all the anti-racist, migrant struggles that for
decades have demanded legalization and access to fundamental rights in
Germany. The Caravan for the Rights of Refugees and Migrants, the Society for
Legalization and the refugee marches and the occupation of Oranienplatz have
been some of the activities, groups and networks of undocumented people.We also greet the struggles for legalization in all corners of the world and join
each of them with great joy from our own campaign in Berlin:

LEGALISATION NOW!

Join us to demand legalization; the current crisis shows more clearly that no one
should be excluded from fundamental social rights!Signatories: