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Crime: New rules against false paternity planned

Crime: New rules against false paternity planned

If a German pretends to be the father of a foreign child, this prevents the mother from being deported. It is well known that money often flows in cases of false paternity.

The traffic light coalition is making a new attempt to get the problem of false paternity to secure residence in Germany, which has been unresolved for years, under control.

Men without a job are usually offered as pseudo-fathers and they receive money in return for helping a woman and her child gain German citizenship or a long-term residence permit. A draft that could be discussed in the cabinet in June stipulates that in the future, before certifying paternity, the immigration authorities should always check whether there is an attempted fraud if there is a “difference in residence rights” between father and mother. This is the case, for example, if the father is German and the mother only has a tourist visa or a toleration permit.

If there is proof that someone is the biological father or if the mother and father have lived together as a couple for a long time, an examination will not be carried out. Conversely, abuse should always be suspected if the alleged couple cannot communicate linguistically, if there is evidence that the “father” has received money or if a man has already recognized other children of foreign mothers. The ARD capital studio first reported on the draft.

Previous attempts at reform have failed

The legislature has tried twice since 2008 to put a stop to false paternity. However, the first reform was overturned by the Federal Constitutional Court – because of the hardship on children who could become stateless as a result. The second reform, in which notaries and youth welfare offices are required to report suspected cases of abuse to the immigration authorities, proved to be ineffective. Because cases of abuse are usually only recognized late, if at all. A subsequent correction is not possible. The justice ministers of the federal states have been pushing for a change in the law for some time. The men who accept a child for a few thousand euros usually live on state benefits. When it comes to child support, there is nothing to be gained from them, so the state has to step in.

The draft, which the Federal Ministry of the Interior and the Justice Department contributed to, provides for criminal liability for the first time. Anyone who provides false information in order to obtain consent to recognize paternity, which has an impact on the residence status of the mother and child, must therefore expect a fine or a prison sentence of up to one year in the future. According to the Federal Government’s findings, the immigration authorities processed a total of 1,769 suspected cases between 2018 and 2021 and identified 290 false recognitions. The actual extent is probably significantly larger, it was said.

Source: Stern

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