It is especially important at this point to analyse critically whether, and if so, to what extent, the debate about dual citizenship is associated with arguments relating to the naturalisation of foreigners in general.
In this regard, objections to dual citizenship are often an expression of fears associated with the notion of an increasing trend towards naturalisation. As is shown in more detail in this section, the concerns put forward are often based on perceived dangers for the country´s internal security as well as on an assumed shift in political power caused by a change in the demographic profile of the electorate. This raises the question of to what extent these concerns are justified and whether arguments against increased naturalisation – both in general and in the context of dual citizenship – can be reconciled with fundamental democratic principles. Alongside possible risks for society, it is necessary to consider the opportunities presented by conversion from de facto state members into de iure state members.
Concerns for political security raised against naturalisation relate first and foremost to forfeiting the possibility of deportation. It is certainly correct that naturalised persons can no longer be expelled or deported if they commit crimes. This concern can be countered at least in part by the fact that foreigners who are conspicuous for their criminal activities will not as a rule be granted German citizenship anyway.
The fear that recognition of dual citizenship would lead to naturalising terrorists
At the heart of much of the exclusionary tendency is concern about immigrants emerging as a political lobby. Often there is a fear that the "indigenous population" might be dominated by a large group of immigrants whose status as citizens has been gained merely in a formal sense.
These fears of a loss of power give rise to three questions. First, it should be asked just how many more immigrants would be naturalised if dual citizenship were to be recognised and thus, how many new voters would in fact be created. Second, there is a need to evaluate what resonance might be expected in political circles given a change in the electorate and third, whether considerations of the benefits, and the values that underpin society, do not make an eventual loss of power and other possible negative effects appear rational or even right and proper.
(a) Naturalisation rate and dual citizenship
Criticism levelled at dual citizenship is often based on an assumption that if it is recognised the consequence will be "mass naturalisation". It is difficult to predict what increase can, in fact, be expected in the rate of naturalisation on the basis of this circumstance alone. Sporadic studies on this subject indicate that should dual citizenship be recognised there might well be an increase in the number of naturalisations, but not the "mass naturalisation" some critics fear.
(b) Change in politics – political resonances resulting from a change in the electorate
The question as to how the political organisation of new citizens and the changes in the political picture would turn out cannot be answered with certainty. It is not unrealistic to expect to find that increased naturalisation will result in new citizens having a greater presence in German politics.
Nonetheless, it appears misleading to perceive the potential new citizens as a uniform, homogeneous mass joining together as one to represent its own interests. Although people possessing Turkish citizenship represent the largest single group of immigrants, they comprise only one quarter of the foreigners living in Germany.
Moreover, people often overlook the fact that, apart from foreigners who do not have a German passport, a further eight million Germans or 10% of the resident population have a migration background (see figure). Almost half of them (44%) are naturalised persons. 23% are descendants of ethnic German repatriates (mostly from Eastern Europe), so called 'Aussiedler'
The democratic benefits of naturalisation
As stated, recognition of dual citizenship can lead to increased naturalisation and this, in turn, may exclude the possibility of deporting criminals. In addition, there could be a resultant power shift in society. As explained, however, none of these consequences is likely to be extreme. Arguments concerning the "redefinition of society" or millions of terrorists that cannot be deported therefore lack a rational foundation. The most important question is to what extent and at what cost can and should a community´s original values, and the retention of power by those who hold it, be secured against immigrants. This question leads in turn to the heart of questions about migration, integration and democracy.
At the end of 2007, there were 1.3 million people in Germany who were born in the country but who did not hold a German passport; almost half of them were over eighteen years old. In total, a fifth of all foreigners and a third of all people with a Turkish passport residing in Germany were born in Germany (see figure). There are also more than two and a half million people of foreign nationality who have been living in Germany for more than 20 years, one and a half million for more than 30 years. It therefore appears justified to identify migrants in Germany for the most part as immigrants in a narrow sense who will stay in the country permanently. Despite this situation, Germany´s long-standing label as not being a country of immigration has led to the fact that for a long period there has been no substantiated inventory taken of the situation of immigrants in Germany, nor any coherent integration policy developed on that basis. As a result, even second- and third-generation immigrants are still not regarded as "natives".
Discussions on naturalisation are of particular importance in this regard, for, as long as immigrants are not naturalised and as long as there is no indivisible "community of common destiny" (Schicksalsgemeinschaft), some people will continue to believe that return migration will one day put an end to the co-habitation of disparate cultures on German soil. This exclusionary tendency is a problem because it excludes the process of rethinking and defining the relationship with people of foreign origin living in Germany.
The naturalisation of long-term immigrants is a democratic necessity, for only then does the electorate reflect the actual population. Otherwise democracy is deficient.