Deportation of foreign criminal offenders to be made easier

Police officers bring an asylum-seeker found guilty of a criminal offence to his plane at Leipzig-Halle Airport.

Non-German citizens receiving a prison sentence can expect to be returned to their country of origin

Photo: picture alliance / dpa

"The provisions adopted today aim to make it easier to deport foreign criminals and to refuse asylum-seekers found guilty of criminal offences the recognition as refugees more rigorously than has hitherto been the case," said federal government spokesperson Steffen Seibert at the government press conference.

"Events like those seen on New Year’s Eve breed hostility towards the vast majority of foreigners who respect the law," said Steffen Seibert. "If foreign citizens who come to Germany seeking protection commit serious criminal offences, they jeopardise popular support within Germany for taking in those in need of our protection, and they risk adversely affecting social peace in Germany."

Threat of deportation looms where prison sentence is handed down

The new bill provides for the deportation of foreign criminal offenders given a custodial sentence – irrespective of whether or not the sentence is suspended. This is to apply to crimes involving acts of violence against lives and physical integrity, crimes attacking sexual self-determination and attacks on police officers.

Crimes against property can also lead to the offender being deported if violence is used or if the offender is a serial offender.

"In future foreign criminals risk being deported even more swiftly. This will also protect the hundreds of thousands of totally innocent refugees living here. They do not deserve to be lumped together with criminals," declared Federal Justice Minister Heiko Maas following the Cabinet meeting.

Response to the New Year’s Eve attacks

In the wake of the attacks in Cologne on New Year’s Eve the German government agreed at the start of January to make it possible to deport foreign criminals significantly faster.

On 11 January, Federal Interior Minister Thomas de Maizière and Federal Justice Minister Heiko Maas presented a joint proposal. "This is a harsh response, but it is the right response of the state to those who believe that they can seek protection here and then commit crimes in our country without prejudicing their presence here," said Thomas de Maizière.land hat", so de Maizière.