The U.S. and Germany struggle with integrating immigrant populations and crafting immigration policies for the twenty-first century. In Germany, cultural and religious concerns guide the debate, while in the U.S., the debate is focused on socio-economic and security concerns. Looking at policies on both sides of the Atlantic can be useful in understanding how to develop successful policies for immigration and integration, bettering both German and U.S. societies.

On October 8, 2009, the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies (AICGS) held a workshop in Washington, DC, on “A Model System Versus a Mediocre System? A Comparison of Muslim Immigration and Integration in the U.S. and Germany,” which was made possible through the generous support of the Robert Bosch Foundation. The event was part …Read More

On August 26, 2009, AICGS hosted a lecture by DAAD/AICGS Fellow Dr. Ann Keller-Lally. Her presentation discussed the current situation of immigrants in the United States and Germany, focusing particularly on the issue of integrating immigrant children in both countries’ compulsory education systems. The need for successful integration arises from the fact that both the …Read More

In her essay entitled “‘Ich bin ein Berliner’ – The immigrant vote in the Berlin elections of 2011,” current DAAD/AICGS Fellow Henriette Rytz examines the role, or lack thereof, that immigrants play in Berlin’s elections. While the parties may focus on the issue of integration for immigrant voters, this may not be in line with their real concerns as citizens of both Berlin and Germany.

Former DAAD/AICGS Fellow Dr. Scott Stock Gissendanner writes that a paradigm shift has occurred in the national framework for local integration policies, resulting in a higher level of policy standardization at the local level. In an essay that was supported by research completed during his stay at AICGS, Dr. Stock Gissendanner argues that as communities try to integrate immigrant populations, the goal is for full integration with permanent residence, a goal which comes from centralized planning at the federal level. This essay originally appeared in the February 14, 2011, edition of Aus Politik und Zeitgeschichte and is available in German only.

Although Germany’s share of immigrants ranks third in the EU behind Luxembourg and Switzerland, Germany still seems to struggle with being a country of immigration, writes DAAD/AICGS Fellow Prof. Dr. Michael Windzio. Regarding the increasing relative size of the first, second, and third generation immigrant population, however, it is a crucial question for Germany’s future development whether their integration will be successful. In this light, Prof. Dr. Windzio offers an overview of theories of immigrant incorporation in social networks and empirical results on segregation in social networks in the U.S. and Germany, further examining how the German and American debates on integration differ.

While analyses on the integration of immigrants and especially Muslim immigrants have multiplied in recent years, debates in the U.S. and Germany differ on these issues. Even though the U.S. and German debates are clearly different, a comparison of Muslim integration in the U.S. and in Europe is still drawn frequently, and many assumptions are made regarding the other side’s policies. In German-American Issues 13, “The Many Sides of Muslim Integration: A German-American Comparison,” authors Tara Bahrampour, Rauf Ceylan, Ariane Chebel d’Appollonia, Raida Chbib, Lily Gardner Feldman, and Mathias Rohe examine and challenge these assumptions, focusing on a range of major issues surrounding the debate.

By most measures the United States today is a religiously tolerant country, despite its past history of discrimination against many minority faith communities, writes Mark Rozell, Professor at George Mason University, in Issue Brief #36, “Religious Tolerance and Islam: A Comparative Analysis.” In comparison, societal acceptance of Muslims has been far more difficult to achieve in western Europe than in the United States, Rozell argues, and he cites some reasons for this difference in acceptance, additionally focusing on the role of the media. This Issue Brief is part of AICGS’ project on the “Integration of Muslim Immigrants in Germany and the United States,” which works to deepen German and American understanding of immigration and integration of Muslims.

In this Transatlantic Perspectives essay, DAAD/AICGS Fellow Dr. Scott Stock Gissendanner, Juniorprofessor at Georg-August-Universität, examines the question of whether or not Muslims in Europe can ever become “true Europeans.” Using the lens of public goods consumption, Dr. Stock Gissendanner looks at the role of NGOs in local communities and how their efforts set up the conditions for many different resolutions to the problems that tend to separate “the West” from “Islam.”

In Issue Brief 33, “Similarities in Difference: The Challenge of Muslim Integration in Germany and the United States,” Mounir Azzaoui examines the status of Muslim integration in both countries and concludes that even though the challenges each nation faces are somewhat different, a dialogue about the experiences of Muslim integration could be made fruitful for all of the challenges ahead. This Issue Brief is part of AICGS’ project on the “Integration of Muslim Immigrants in Germany and the United States,” which works to deepen the German-American understanding of immigration and integration of Muslims.

In this AICGS Transatlantic Perspectives essay, Former DAAD/AICGS Fellow Dr. Ann Keller-Lally, Assistant Professor of German at the University of Northern Colorado, examines the differences in the German and American school systems and how the respective systems impact immigrants’ integration into the two societies. Dr. Keller-Lally looks at what the U.S. and Germany can do to improve immigrant education and integration, offering four specific recommendations to improve integration going forward.

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