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Germany, in Wake of Racist Attacks, Ponders Law to Curb Refugee Influx

Following the recent wave of anti-foreigner violence in Germany, the Bundestag will next month consider legislation curbing the right of asylum.

A proposed amendment to the constitution will limit the granting of refugee status to persons suffering political persecution and restrict access to so- called “economic refugees,” a spokesman of the ruling Christian Democratic faction said Wednesday.

The uncontrolled influx of refugees is partially to blame for the attacks on refugee hostels in a number of cities, particularly in eastern Germany, he said.

Members of the opposition Social Democratic Party have said they are reconsidering their opposition to curbing immigration in the wake of rampages by far-right gangs.

Support for the change came Wednesday from Manfred Rommel, the mayor of Stuttgart and president of the National Organization of German Town Councils.

The son of a German World War II hero, Field Marshal Erwin Rommel, the Stuttgart mayor said many communities are unable to cope with the large numbers of economic refugees who claim asylum to win state support.

The speaker of the Bundestag, Rita Sussmuth, this week assured her Israeli counterpart that any change in the constitution would be directed at ensuring asylum for those persecuted for their political beliefs.

She was responding to a message of concern over neo-Nazi violence in Germany from Knesset Speaker Shevah Weiss.

Attacks on hostels for asylum-seekers were reported Tuesday night in at least eight towns, mostly in eastern Germany. Bonn police chief Michael Kniesel said Wednesday that some violence had been reported in the capital’s outskirts, where several refugee hostels are located.

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