Reporter’s Notebook: Germany’s Family Reunification Problem

FP contributor Vauhini Vara appears on The E.R. to discuss her story “Germany’s Family Feud.”

Vara_2
Vara_2

In Foreign Policy’s April 2018 print edition, Vauhini Vara narrates one refugee’s efforts to bring his family to Germany. In so doing, she highlights an underexplored facet of the refugee crisis: the increasing unwillingness of countries to allow families to reunite. That, Vara argues, is ultimately not just terrible for refugees; it is also bad for the host countries themselves.

In Foreign Policy’s April 2018 print edition, Vauhini Vara narrates one refugee’s efforts to bring his family to Germany. In so doing, she highlights an underexplored facet of the refugee crisis: the increasing unwillingness of countries to allow families to reunite. That, Vara argues, is ultimately not just terrible for refugees; it is also bad for the host countries themselves.

In 2015, Staif Haddad parted with his family in Istanbul. His wife and two small children returned to their home in Syria, while Staif went on to Germany. Staif would travel there first and start a new life before his family joined him.

But shortly after Staif reached his government-assigned home of Berlin, Chancellor Angela Merkel opened Germany’s borders to asylum-seekers, fueling a massive influx of refugees. Public opinion on the newcomers soon soured. In 2016, Staif was denied asylum by the German government.

Still in Berlin, Staif continues to lobby to be reunited with his family.

Vauhini Vara, an FP contributor for the print magazine, reported Staif’s story in her feature, “Germany’s Family Feud.” Vauhini joins FP’s deputy editor for print, Sarah Wildman, on The E.R. to discuss Staif’s story and the larger implications of the refugee crisis on families that have been torn apart.

Vauhini Vara is a contributing writer for the New Yorker’s website, and her stories have been published in the Atlantic, Harper’s Magazine, and Bloomberg Businessweek, among other publications. She reported from Berlin as a 2017 Arthur F. Burns fellow. Follow her on Twitter at: @vauhinivara.

Sarah Wildman is FP’s deputy editor for print. Follow her on Twitter at: @SarahAWildman.

More from Foreign Policy

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping give a toast during a reception following their talks at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 21.
Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping give a toast during a reception following their talks at the Kremlin in Moscow on March 21.

Can Russia Get Used to Being China’s Little Brother?

The power dynamic between Beijing and Moscow has switched dramatically.

Xi and Putin shake hands while carrying red folders.
Xi and Putin shake hands while carrying red folders.

Xi and Putin Have the Most Consequential Undeclared Alliance in the World

It’s become more important than Washington’s official alliances today.

Russian President Vladimir Putin greets Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.
Russian President Vladimir Putin greets Kazakh President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev.

It’s a New Great Game. Again.

Across Central Asia, Russia’s brand is tainted by Ukraine, China’s got challenges, and Washington senses another opening.

Kurdish military officers take part in a graduation ceremony in Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s Kurdistan Region, on Jan. 15.
Kurdish military officers take part in a graduation ceremony in Erbil, the capital of Iraq’s Kurdistan Region, on Jan. 15.

Iraqi Kurdistan’s House of Cards Is Collapsing

The region once seemed a bright spot in the disorder unleashed by U.S. regime change. Today, things look bleak.