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2019
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Frank Bernheisel: The View From Here
Frank Bernheisel
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Frank Bernheisel
Posted 11.21.15
Just Outside Washington

FRANK BERNHEISEL

Refugee report from one German city

I received a number of responses to my piece on refugees. A couple of people thought we should not bring in any refugees from Syria and thought that the federal government was incompetent to provide security.

I also received this informative and thoughtful input from my friend Paul in Freiburg, Germany. Paul wrote:

Freiburg has taken in 5000 refugees in the last year, which amounts to 2 percent of our local population. This even though Freiburg has a housing shortage that is the worst in Germany, based on percent of income devoted to housing costs. We are getting an additional 150 refugees per week. But it is working out.

It is exciting, actually, to see the people that have struggled and put their lives on the line to make it here. And there are enough that they are visible. There is makeshift container housing close to my apartment, and another close to the office. On my bike route between my apartment and the office the government constructed a refugee in-take center on the grounds of the soon-to-be-retired police academy.

I left for vacation this summer for two weeks and when I returned three large tents had been assembled on the former soccer and track fields and put into operation soon thereafter. Busses arrive with refugees to be processed and then distributed out to other parts of Germany.

Maybe Germany will become the new land of opportunity and get the benefit of those with enough initiative to make the trip. That's what it needs, a bit of outside-the-box thinking.

I must add though that Freiburg is a very liberal city ('the Boulder, Colorado of the Black Forest?'); the integration isn't universally supported by everyone across Germany as much as it is here.

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