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Germany's Immigration Dilemma

How Can Germany Attract the Workers It Needs?

Courtesy Reuters

Months after its publication last August, Thilo Sarrazin's book, Deutschland schafft sich ab (Germany does away with itself), is still a runaway bestseller in his native country. The book makes an apocalyptic argument -- that immigrants are destroying Germany. In Sarrazin's view, most of the country's large Arab and Turkish populations are not just unwilling but also unable to integrate, and the nation must take urgent steps, starting with a radical overhaul of its welfare system, to avoid a hastening demise.

The German political elite could hardly ignore the debate. Sarrazin is no uncredentialed radical: he has been an executive at Deutsche Bahn, the Berlin finance minister, and a member of the board of the Deutsche Bundesbank, Germany's central bank. Within days of the book's publication and an incendiary follow-on interview in which he mentioned a Jewish "gene" (an especially taboo subject in Germany), he was kicked out of the

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