BONN : Tightening the Rules

The German Bundestag, or lower house of Parliament, is to vote Wednesday on a controversial new asylum law that is designed to halt the flood of economic refugees coming from poorer European and Third World nations.

By amending the industrialized world's most liberal asylum law, Chancellor Helmut Kohl's government also hopes to put the brakes on continuing right-wing violence against foreign asylum-seekers.

The law would roll back attractions such as full welfare benefits while an applicant's case is pending--one reason why Bonn spends an estimated $10,000 a year on each asylum-seeker even though 95% of all applicants are ultimately rejected on grounds they are not victims of political persecution. It would put Germany on a par with most of its European Community partners in dealing with immigrants.

More than 400,000 would-be immigrants entered Germany last year.

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