Merkel backs deportation of refugees who break law

Angela Merkel says she will consider pursuing legal changes to deport refugees who commited sexual attacks in Cologne

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

German Chancellor Angela Merkel

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday that she will pursue legal changes make it easier to expel asylum seekers who broke the law over attacks on New Year’s Eve.

The incident rocked the whole country and provoked a discussion about Germany's open-door policy on refugees.

According to current laws refugees are only deported if they are sentenced to at least 3 years in prison and if their lives are not in danger in their homeland.

Merkel said it was time to ask, "When do you lose your right to stay with us?" to those who commited the assaults.

"We should ask ourselves whether it might be necessary to take this away earlier [than is currently the case], and I have to say that for me, we must take it away sooner," Merkel said.

"We must do this for us, and for the many refugees who were not present during the events in Cologne." 

Merkel had urged a debate over toughening Germany's deportation policy before and this is the first time she has clearly supported a legal change.

German Interior Ministry spokesman Tobias Plate  has said that police determined there were 18 refugees in the crowd responsible for the assaults in Cologne, mostly identified as being of North African or Arab extraction.

TRTWorld and agencies