54 immigrants from 15 different nations became German citizens today. Berlin Online asked three of them why:

Andrea Gimenez, 27, enjoyed the ceremony, including the singing of the German national anthem, even though the Argentinean is not quite sure of the lyrics yet. She got married in Germany and decided that she is now integrated into the society and wanted to have the same rights as her husband, a German citizen.

Nabaz Dargalaee, a Kurd from Northern Iraqi who has been living in Germany for nine years and entered the country as an asylum seeker. He says he feels good about having an EU citizenship and is happy that he can now vote. One of the requirements for German citizenship is to have lived in Germany for at least eight years legally, that’s why his wife, who has only been in Germany for five years, will have to wait. Their daughter however already has German citizenship, as she was born there.

Nabaz Dargalaee said he did not mind giving up his Iraqi citizenship, not only because he is a Kurd, but also because he feels that it will be easier to find a job with a German passport.

The 18-year old Ahmet Ögrenci, a Turkish immigrant is also hoping to better his career chances. He still feels Turkish, even though he also says that now that he has the German passport he also feels part German.

I think they do have a point. Immigrants are often not able to access certain services or obtain certain rights such as voting, as they are not citizens. Job chances for young people in Germany are already very low and immigrants might not be considered for interviews, as many employers fear that their language abilities and education are lacking. However, a German passport does not change the name of the person, and that in most cases will still hinder immigrants from getting job interviews.

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