Refugee Acceptance and the Social State

On July 18, 2012, the German Federal Constitutional Court determined that cash benefits paid to asylum seekers for subsistence are unconstitutional according to the Asylum Seekers Benefits Act. According to the Court, the benefits are evidently insufficient and incompatible with the fundamental right to a minimum existence, which is protected as the right to human dignity in Article 1, Sec. 1 in conjunction with Article 20, Sec. 1 of the Basic Law. In its reasoning, the Court claimed that the migration policy of keeping benefits paid to asylum seekers low to avoid incentivizing migration cannot be justified. This judgment on asylum legislation has had serious impacts in the years since. However, the Court has been criticized by claims that it went too far in adopting transitional arrangements and instructing the legislative procedure. This paper examines whether the reasoning of the judgment is appropriate in an era of globalization.