German government ministers have agreed on the outline of a new law, which, if passed, would make it easier to deport immigrants who break German laws.
“We will tighten criminal law to make deportation easier,” said Justice Minister Heiko Maas.
The new proposal would lower that threshold to pursue deportation such that any immigrant convicted of a crime with a jail sentence longer than one year would be eligible. In addition, specific crimes which will be looked at as cause for deportation include sexual assault, threatening someone’s life, or attacking a police officer. Currently, these crimes usually result in probation and thus, do not result in deportation.
Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has been under pressure since news of the assaults in Cologne broke last week, said of the proposal, “We must make sure the law can take effect as soon as possible.” Merkel supported an open border policy that led to over one million new immigrants entering the county, primarily from northern Africa and the Middle East.
On New Year’s Eve, as many as 1,000 drunk men, identified by victims and police as mostly immigrants, filled the plaza outside the train station in Cologne and sexually assaulted passing women. A total of 553 police reports have been filed with law enforcement in Cologne, Germany, based on incidents that took place on New Year’s Eve. The BBC reports 45% of those–about 250 reports–allege sexual assault on women.
Despite the complete breakdown in public order, the police report published January 1 claimed the previous night had been relaxed and peaceful. It was only a week later that word of what had really happened began to make its way into newspapers.
A leaked police report described the scene as “chaos,” with police completely unable to restore order or protect women being attacked. One direct result of the fiasco came last week; Cologne’s police chief was ordered to take an early retirement.