Criminal clampdown

Turning Point in Refugee Policy

cologne protests-oliver berg-dpa
Three competing rallies hit the streets in Cologne, with women, neo-Nazis and anti-fascists demonstrating about the New Year assaults.
  • Why it matters

    Why it matters

    Germany wants to send a signal to asylum seekers that it will crack down on those who break the law.

  • Facts


    • Leaders of the coalition government party are meeting Monday to discuss tightening asylum laws.
    • Police said that more than 515 criminal complaints have been filed over New Year’s Eve attacks in Cologne, more than 40 percent of them involving sexual offenses.
    • In 2014, state authorities issued 3,242 deportation decrees, down from 4,328 in 2012.
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Leaders of Germany’s coalition government met on Monday to discuss tightening up asylum laws and speeding up the judical process, following the New Year’s Eve attacks on women in Cologne and other German cities by men of mostly North African and Arab origin, some of them asylum seekers.

The proposed changes could be discussed in parliament as early as Wednesday.

Germany’s chancellor and head of the Christian Democratic Union, Angela Merkel, emerged from a weekend’s closed-door party meeting in Mainz with a tough message to asylum seekers – abide by the law or be prepared to leave.

Among the measures the conservative party discussed in what has been dubbed the “Mainz Declaration” is a rule that asylum seekers who commit crimes, regardless of their severity, would forfeit their right to protection and be deported, even in cases where the punishment is a suspended sentence.

Guido Wolf, a Christian Democrat running for state premier of Baden-Württemberg, referred to the party’s consensus on changing asylum laws as a “turning point.”

Hessen’s state premier, Volker Bouffier, added: “Cologne has changed everything.”

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