Mass Migration and the Death of Private Property in Germany

Imagine this: a large group of refugees arrives in the town where you own a second home. Maybe you bought it as an investment or as a place to retire and enjoy life. You’re working hard to pay for this property, so you can’t get there as often as you like. Instead, you pay a management company to keep an eye on it. They make sure the pipes don’t freeze and that no one breaks in. And while you’re gone, the local government seizes your home and houses a refugee family in it.

It sounds like something out of a George Orwell novel but it’s real and it is happening in Germany. In 2015, the City of Hamburg began seizing commercial property to house refugees. Recently, it began seizing private residences that have been vacant for more than four months – and billing the owners for any renovations the city deems necessary. Referred to as “forced leasing,” the owners theoretically receive rent, despite having been deprived of any meaningful rights to manage and dispose of their property as they see fit – rights which are a cornerstone of Western democracy.

Even prior to the European refugee crisis, Germany was experiencing a housing shortage. The addition of over one million migrants only worsened real estate problems as newly admitted refugees began competing with everyday Germans for a limited pool of rental homes. However, Hamburg’s solution is virtually unprecedented. It may be the first time that a Western society has deliberately deprived its own citizens of established property rights in order to ensure the comfort and safety of foreigners.

If you think it can’t happen here, read Kelo v. New London. In that case, the Supreme Court allowed the City of New London, Connecticut, to seize private property so that it could sell it to a shopping mall developer. An American legal concept, known as “condemnation by eminent domain,” allows the government to take private property for public use, provided that the property owner is properly compensated. The Court found that New London’s economic plans trumped private property rights, constituting a valid public use under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment. If building a privately owned mall is considered sufficiently “public” to justify government seizure of private property, then it would be extremely hard to argue that seizing residences to create public housing for needy immigrants isn’t.

Hamburg’s situation clearly illustrates the downside to uncontrolled mass migration. Western civilization operates on the notion that the first duty of a government is to protect the life, liberty and property of its own citizens. All other obligations are subsidiary. Hamburg decided to protect foreigners at the expense of German citizens and, in so doing, failed to fulfill the first duty of government. Let’s hope that if the U.S. government ever begins expropriating private land in response to a migrant crisis, it’s to build a border wall, not to house massive numbers of immigrants that the people of the United States never wanted here.

About Author


Matthew J. O’Brien joined the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) in 2016. Matt is responsible for managing FAIR’s research activities. He also writes content for FAIR’s website and publications. Over the past twenty years he has held a wide variety of positions focusing on immigration issues, both in government and in the private sector. Immediately prior to joining FAIR Matt served as the Chief of the National Security Division (NSD) within the Fraud Detection and National Security Directorate (FDNS) at U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), where he was responsible for formulating and implementing procedures to protect the legal immigration system from terrorists, foreign intelligence operatives, and other national security threats. He has also held positions as the Chief of the FDNS Policy and Program Development Unit, as the Chief of the FDNS EB-5 Division, as Assistant Chief Counsel with U.S. Immigration & Customs Enforcement, as a Senior Advisor to the Citizenship and Immigration Services Ombudsman, and as a District Adjudications Officer with the legacy Immigration & Naturalization Service. In addition, Matt has extensive experience as a private bar attorney. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in French from the Johns Hopkins University and a Juris Doctor from the University of Maine School of Law.


  1. avatar
    Robert K Pavlick on

    Coming to a city or a State near you ! Wouldn’t you just love to show up at your Summer cabin in Vermont only to find a Syrian man with his four wives and 12 children living there ?

  2. avatar

    This Peter person is a real pig so just don’t engage. Ignore him & he’ll go away.

  3. avatar

    Not all people on the Mayflower came here because of their religion. Stop trying to pretend your American. Your not American one bit. See Peter, true Americans love their country, and have great respect for the people who fought and died for our freedom. My ancestors would be very proud of me just for the fact that I will do everything in my power to stop people like you from destroying my country.

    • avatar If you want a well respected website on the Pilgrims go here. The passenger list was 102 people. The rest were crew or servants. This wasn’t a voyage that just anybody could sign on .

      • avatar

        Karen go and research The John Winthrop Fleet and learn of the most influential migration ever…..the best of England were there…..not discrediting the Mayflower as we know only 50 survived and later was taking over the Massachusetts Bay Colony population that was much greater in proportion and better prepared when the arrived in the New World….

        “Better prepared” does not implied better, it means as per history they sent Endicott Expeditions to survey the land prior to arrival…….
        Indeed not just anybody signed on…..also read amount Capt John Smith…….were tough times that you do not grasp and people here…..still religious turmoil, indians, War while settling….worse than the wild west…….my GGF that cam w/Winthrop at his death, was the wealthiest man in the colony……

  4. avatar

    Leland, Ignore the “Lazy Open Border” Progressives Like Peter

    They would tell ya breathing is evil because Trump breathed.

    IOWs….the Progressives/Rinos want to eliminate our life cycle engineering/manufacturing costs from America. I.e., the 737 drawings were “stealth” outsourced when Boeing Auburn Fabrication left Sanctuary State, Washington St…..they’re in higher paid Japanese engineer format already [and we trained them our aerospace secrets]…America lost it all and our open border Progressive/Rino Governors, Senators and Congressmen didn’t tell us the last couple decades it was happening and of course, did nothing to stop it.

    Manufacturing Engineers in America mean two things:

    More White males in engineering the foreigners hate.
    Americans will have to work hard for a living… border Progressives want foreign slave wages and homelessness Middle Class.

    So they lie about us to stay lazy and lack experience/seniority; so they call that unimportant….no wonder almost everything is throw away junk lately.

    • avatar

      Beautifully said softwarengineer. I also have to say I agree with you about Peter,

    • avatar

      So you are a blatant racist. so all manufacturing engineer s r white?. Hahahaha!!! Lazy? Which is the fatso in a couch???

      • avatar

        SWE this is what this country and Constitution stand for:

        Manufacturing Engineers in America mean ONE thing:

        – The jobs back for all Americans…..

  5. avatar

    No surprise that Obama named Angela Merkel as his favorite world leader. Both are generous with other people’s money and property, while they live behind secure walls and hobnob with billionaires. Merkel told all refugees that they were “welcome” in Germany and then, when they predictably showed up by the hundreds of thousands per month, she demands that other European nations take their “share”. Brain dead leftist dingbat. Like the Pope, who insists that Western countries have to take in all the third world overpopulation that his church’s birth control policies, or more precisely the lack thereof, produced.

    It’s being widely reported that the “classified information” that Trump “shared” with the Russians was that Isis had figured out how to put explosives in laptops. What short memories by the media. Two months ago our government announced that on flights from certain countries we were restricting carry on laptops precisely because of that reason.

    • avatar

      What happened to high clearance n our spies that can be killed by leaking that info n stupid people like you writing it in the media or disclosing it??? Do you have brain’s or u wear a rear bumper,?

      Merkel n Germany knows best n worst about War n compassion…of course you have no heart n a rear bumper thete instead as well

      Educate yourself reads all news even the EU but wait u have no brains to understand the….they know they made a mistake m they t trying to fix it…..

      Just like you, you know nothing about hard work….

      • avatar

        Are you able to read? That info two months ago about laptops being forbidden on certain airlines because of Isis placing explosives in them was all over the news back then. How the could I “disclose” something that made headlines. Delusional.

      • avatar

        Peter I think your from China not India. Just the way you word things, are not like Americans talk. Leland picked up on it also.

        • avatar

          Fed up, I actually have seen that reaction in most people like you and Leland…..I have found that, it is typically the reaction of people with either High School or no High school….at all….interesting…..

          Specially when I mentioned history that you do not even know….but that is why Europeans think we are stupid…..

          • avatar

            Sorry Peter that’s an old argument. Women and college educated people do love this country and voted for President Trump.

          • avatar

            Fed up is not about women, my ancestors were women pioneering in profession. A college is not the only equation to your wits……it is the ability if the accuracy n precision to tell things that tell me you lack of.

            You are free to like any type if men, especially the ones that use women as objects tell me the depth if your wisdom if any….

            Like the Bush incident….

        • avatar

          Fed up, Obama and actually Michelle, is a woman of more culture and intellect than you are.

    • avatar

      Matt anything can happen anywhere, Germany;s population are in the decline, no more babies per couple and no real state in the Capital available….have many friends form there……engineers mostly… into perspective…look at China 1.3 Billion and us 330M with about the same land……that is the answer…..

      • avatar

        It’s just the most amazing coincidence. No matter the subject, you’re got “many friends” who make you an expert on what’s being discussed.

        • avatar

          Perhaps you should wake up and smell the tea or coffee….. expand your knowledge and comprehend read and exercise your wits…..I realized that it appears whenever I write something that requires gray matter and thinking you are afraid of it and find a negative excuse…..that is called ignorance my fellow blogger and fear to reality progress and change….exactly the opposite this land was born and stands for it …

          • avatar

            Blah blah. If the subject was “are the polar ice caps melting” you would have a “friend” stationed in Antarctica.

          • avatar

            Leland what do you do for a living?…..did yo go to the university? have you ever worked or went to school with people from other countries? Have you ever had professors from Germany, France, China, South Korea, South American, Romania, former Yugoslavia, Russia, etc that are citizens and were accepted here to teach science and graduate w/honors….and get to appreciate their countries and what they brought to the US..

            Obviously not!….welcome to the 21st century and to an American and many like me of the newer generation that improved yours……that is how and why…….you are unable to progress…..

          • avatar

            Peter in our country we say smell the coffee. I read most of your comments and your sentences and wording makes no sense. I can forgive all your spelling errors, but not your sentence structure.

        • avatar

          Peter is also trying to convince people his family has been here for 400 years. He’s also telling people that do have Mayflower ancestors that they are un American. Typical jealous liberal. This country gets more red everyday because of people like Peter.

          • avatar

            Fed up your ancestors came in the Mayflower….I am not like you…….my ancestors came in the WInthrop Fleet to build a country freely not because they were being ran away from Religion…but these people are more like you and your ancestors……they are running away…..from situations like you ancestors came here for…I am sure they are disappointed at you…

            Remember that clearly and be certain of your history….The English came here at first for fishery and fur…to expand their wealth….yours because of religion prosecution….mine to build a place and sure of their religion……

            I am surprise with your background of being discriminated you are no different….

      • avatar

        Peter the propagandist , thinks the answer is, that we should fill our country up with his countries people. NEVER going to happen Peter.

        • avatar

          Fed up the Honduran, that is what your little gray matter concluded not what I said

      • avatar
        cynthia curran on

        Not really, its better to have no babies like Japan than bring in lots of refugees. In fact having either a lot of kids or lots of immigrants drives down wages and increases rent. The Black death of the middle ages gave the poor peasants a chance since their was not a labor surplus. The right should not replaced not having immigrants with going back to the high birth rates of the baby boom era which caused wages to drop as well.

        • avatar

          What are you talking bout?????? say something that has substance…..elaborate please on:
          “The Black death of the middle ages gave the poor peasants a chance since their was not a labor surplus. “….

          what do you mean? you are giving a reason to a disease that came from the 1300’s into Europe as an excuse of your reasoning?

          The issue now even in Germany is that most couples are not having children or 1 to 3. Germany has that issue cannot compare the rest of the World with us….other wise you nor I would not be here as simple as that

      • avatar
        cynthia curran on

        Not really, its better to have no babies like Japan than bring in lots of refugees. In fact having either a lot of kids or lots of immigrants drives down wages and increases rent. The Black death of the middle ages gave the poor peasants a chance since their was not a labor surplus. The right should not replaced not having immigrants with going back to the high birth rates of the baby boom era which caused wages to drop as well.

        • avatar

          Cynthia long short, Matt’s article contemplates the possibility that it might happen here …. a real long shot….the reason I said too exaggerated and the correlation to China’s population ( the land of Fed up ).

          The black death had no discrimination and whenever there is a decrease of population….progress is next to happen….

          If you have no kids, then whoever has more will eventually take over…..

          For instance back in The Massachusetts Bay Colony people had 6 -10 kids…..s300+ later that is what predominantly is out there an the last of them in Congress, reason they are all somehow related…..

          I have seen women making excuses at their realities in nit having babies, but that is a personal choice….FYI….Japan is in trouble…..research that,,,,

          • avatar

            Reading all this giber gaber — funny sh!t – well I came up with one thing.
            We are dam lucky Peter is not in charge of Sh!t.