Call to online action #lega­li­sie­rungjetzt

The COVID 19 pan­de­mic and how the cur­rent cri­sis affects undo­cu­men­ted peop­le

Call for lega­li­sa­ti­on and soli­da­ri­ty

«We are all going through a very dif­fi­cult eco­no­mic moment, becau­se we depend on our dai­ly work to pay for our room and to sup­port our­sel­ves, and in my case also to feed my daugh­ter. I can only find one or two jobs per week. So we are very worried becau­se we don’t have papers. We are ille­ga­li­zed peop­le. We have no other way to make money. It’s frus­tra­ting for us. We don’t know how long the virus will last. We are worried becau­se we are all taking risks».

(Tes­ti­mo­ny from an affec­ted per­son)

More tes­ti­mo­nies fol­low:

Many peop­le live ille­gal­ly in Ger­ma­ny. The rea­sons are mani­fold: Many of them were refu­sed poli­ti­cal asyl­um. For fear of repres­si­on in their coun­tries, they deci­ded to go under­ground. Others came as tou­rists and deci­ded to stay here to work and sup­port their fami­lies in their coun­tries of ori­gin.

The cau­se of this situa­ti­on is the ine­qua­li­ty bet­ween the Glo­bal South and North. Just as many Euro­peans have emi­gra­ted to Latin Ame­ri­ca in times of cri­sis, peop­le today are emi­gra­ting in search of a bet­ter life or flee from opp­res­si­on.

For more than 20 years, the Respect initia­ti­ve has been working to draw atten­ti­on to the situa­ti­on of undo­cu­men­ted women in Ber­lin, sho­wing soli­da­ri­ty with them and pro­vi­ding them with con­cre­te sup­port.

Health care for undo­cu­men­ted migrants – the strugg­le con­ti­nues …

Wit­hin the “Soli­da­ri­ty City” net­work Ber­lin (, we have enga­ged in a cam­pai­gn in recent years to demand anony­mous health insuran­ce (“anony­mer Kran­ken­schein”) and thus access to health care for undo­cu­men­ted migrants.

The Ber­lin Sena­te has now set up an infor­ma­ti­on cen­ter («Clea­ring­stel­le») to enab­le peop­le without health insuran­ce to access health care. Unfor­tu­n­a­te­ly, we have found that this access has so far been very bureau­cra­tic and ina­de­qua­te. Even today, during the time of COVID-19, the Clea­ring­stel­le has not been par­ti­cu­lar­ly com­mit­ted to undo­cu­men­ted migrants and, for examp­le, has not infor­med them of their legal situa­ti­on under the Infec­tion Pro­tec­tion Act. Howe­ver, on 17 April, the Sena­te reac­ted to the pro­tests and announ­ced a regu­la­ti­on that now allows peop­le without health insuran­ce to visit all gene­ral prac­titio­ners in Ber­lin and seek tre­at­ment. To do so, they must first app­ly for a cost absorp­ti­on cer­ti­fi­ca­te from the Clea­ring­stel­le. This is a step for­ward that must be main­tai­ned after the pan­de­mic. Howe­ver, it remains to be seen how well this will work in prac­tice. Apart from this new poli­cy, the situa­ti­on is unch­an­ged. Tho­se who are serious­ly ill and need tre­at­ment by spe­cia­lists or who have to go to hos­pi­tal are faced with a very cum­ber­so­me bureau­cra­cy.

The­re is also a lack of acces­si­ble infor­ma­ti­on in all the necessa­ry lan­guages. And the­re is no infor­ma­ti­on on what to do when peop­le in an irre­gu­lar situa­ti­on have sym­ptoms of COVID-19. The­re is also a lack of infor­ma­ti­on on whe­re they can be tested and whe­ther they should be afraid that their data will be pas­sed on to immi­gra­ti­on aut­ho­ri­ties if they are car­ri­ers of the virus.

Undo­cu­men­ted migrant care workers are on the brink of the abyss

Peop­le without papers main­ly work in the ser­vice sec­tor. Migrant women take on domestic, care and nur­sing tasks that many peop­le with bet­ter eco­no­mic living con­di­ti­ons no lon­ger do them­sel­ves, to have time for paid employ­ment. Ille­ga­li­zed per­sons take care of child­ren, pick them up from school, put them to bed when their par­ents go to the cine­ma or to a par­ty, clean hou­ses, iron, cook in restau­rants, clean in hotels, work in con­struc­tion, etc.

Now that the prio­ri­ty is iso­la­ti­on, the employ­ing fami­lies stay at home. Schools and cine­mas are clo­sed and the workers without papers are no lon­ger nee­ded. Employ­ers have gene­ral­ly told them that they no lon­ger need their help. All the undo­cu­men­ted working women we know have been laid off without any offer of sup­port.

In addi­ti­on, undo­cu­men­ted peop­le do not dare to go out on the stre­ets for fear of being con­trol­led, espe­ci­al­ly becau­se of the mas­si­ve and frigh­ten­ing pre­sence of the poli­ce on the stre­ets. Many undo­cu­men­ted peop­le are com­ple­te­ly iso­la­ted in per­ma­nent inse­cu­ri­ty, some suf­fer from depres­si­on. Cur­r­ent­ly, they can­not look for other jobs and have to live with dai­ly worries. In addi­ti­on, many of them are con­cer­ned about their fami­lies in their home coun­tries. For undo­cu­men­ted workers, the­re is no government sup­port becau­se they do not offi­ci­al­ly exist for the Ger­man sta­te.

Visi­bi­li­ty and soli­da­ri­ty

This cri­sis has revea­led and exa­cer­ba­ted exis­ting soci­al ine­qua­li­ties. It must the­re­fo­re be clear that this cri­sis affects us all, but not in the same way. Once again, the situa­ti­on of ille­ga­li­zed peop­le remains invi­si­ble. The ille­ga­li­zed women we are in con­tact with have asked us to make this call on all orga­ni­za­ti­ons, initia­ti­ves and indi­vi­du­als. We ask you to par­ti­ci­pa­te in a day of action to demand the lega­li­za­ti­on of undo­cu­men­ted peop­le.

We belie­ve that at a time when a lot of respon­si­bi­li­ty and soli­da­ri­ty are expec­ted of all of us, it is extre­me­ly important to demand that ille­ga­li­zed peop­le are not left behind. The idea of a socie­ty based on soli­da­ri­ty must also app­ly to them! The cur­rent cri­sis shows all the more clear­ly that no one should be exclu­ded from fun­da­men­tal soci­al rights!

  • We demand the lega­li­sa­ti­on of all peop­le living in Ger­ma­ny.
  • We demand unli­mi­ted and equal access to health care for all peop­le living in Ger­ma­ny.

We invi­te all anti-racist initiatives/groups and per­sons to par­ti­ci­pa­te in the day of action.

It will take place on Satur­day, 25 April, throug­hout the day.


- With the hash­tag #Lega­li­za­ti­onNow, post sel­fies with ban­ners, or vide­os, exp­lai­ning why the cam­pai­gn is important,

- Use the fly­er as a pro­fi­le pic­tu­re in soci­al media

- You can sup­port our deman­ds by sup­porting our call with your name or your organisation’s name.

The government is unli­kely to meet our deman­ds at this time. That is why we are her­e­by laun­ching a fund­rai­sing cam­pai­gn to sup­port ille­gal workers.

Make a dona­ti­on to:

Respect Initia­ti­ve Ber­lin

Inten­ded Use: Soli­vi­rus

DE34 8306 5408 0004 9035 60


Deut­sche Skat­bank

Plea­se note: Unfor­tu­n­a­te­ly, we can­not issue dona­ti­on rece­ipts!


ARI – Anti­ras­sis­ti­sche Initia­ti­ve 
Black Earth- BIPoC Envi­ron­men­tal Move­ment 
Blo­que Lati­no­ame­ri­ca­no Ber­lin
Bünd­nis gegen Ras­sis­mus 
Gen-ethi­sches Netz­werk e.V.
kit­chen poli­tics
KUB Ber­lin
LAFI latein­ame­ri­ka­ni­sche Frau­en­in­itia­ti­ve in Neu­kölln e. V
Medi­bü­ro Ber­lin 
Netz­werk Repro­duk­ti­ve Gerech­tig­keit
Ofi­c­i­na Pre­ca­ria
See­brü­cke Ber­lin
Thea­ter X 
Voces de Gua­te­ma­la 
Women in Exi­le
xart split­ta