Deportations happen every day in Berlin. In the early mornings, people are taken out of their beds, forced onto planes and involuntarily brought to places they left in order to escape death, persecution, discrimination and unbearable life conditions - or simply to seek a better future. We read about deportations where families get torn apart, where people get humiliated, sedated and beaten. It is exactly in these times that we cannot idly stand by anymore.
Inspired by migrant communities that in mutual solidarity offer safe spaces to people under threat of deportation, in recent years Citizen Asylum initiatives have emerged in several cities throughout Germany. As an act of solidarity and civil disobedience, people open up their homes for individuals threatened by and fighting against deportation. Now the time has come for Berlin! We understand Citizen Asylum as part of the Solidarity City movement which advocates that human rights apply to all inhabitants of a city and that everyone has a right to housing, education, health, basic income and mobility - regardless of their status or passport.
The aim of Citizen Asylum is to provide safe spaces for people under threat of deportation and thereby support them in their fight for the right to stay. In some cases, Citizen Asylum enables people to have their asylum cases assessed by German authorities. In other cases, people just need some time in order to obtain a birth certificate, to finish a language course or to start an apprenticeship.
Our initiative works in the following ways: On a practical solidarity level, we connect people having a free room with those who need one to avoid the danger of being deported. We get in contact with self-organised migrant organisations, lawyers and other relevant actors. We do fundraising in order to cover the costs for food, lawyers or public transportation. On a public outreach level, we organise info events and workshops, speak out at demonstrations, give interviews to the media and generally seek to promote the idea of Citizen Asylum. In this way, we set our solidarity with persons threatened by deportation against racist discourse and inhumane deportation politics.