Denmark to Ban Convicted Criminals from Path to Citizenship

The worn bars in the cell block are seen at Alcatraz Island, a 22-acre rocky outcrop situated 1.5 miles offshore in San Francisco Bay, August 11, 2011. Seventy-seven years ago on August 11, 1934, a group of federal prisoners classified as "most dangerous" arrived at the new high-security penitentiary designed …
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The Danish government has reached an agreement with several other major parties on citizenship that will prevent anyone given conditional and unconditional prison sentences from becoming citizens.

Danish Minister for Immigration and Integration Mattias Tesfaye spoke about the agreement earlier this week, saying: “Among immigrants, some are doing well, and then some are doing poorly. We want to make sure that those who receive Danish citizenship have settled well in Danish society and has embraced Denmark — including Danish values.”

Morten Dahlin, the deputy spokesman for the Liberal Party, which supports the new measures, said according to Danish broadcaster DR: “It should not be the case that as a foreigner you can come to Denmark, commit a serious crime, and then be rewarded with citizenship afterwards.”

The new agreement bans migrants who have received a fine larger than 3,000 Danish kroner (£348/$485) from applying for citizenship for six years. It also states that migrants must have been employed for three and a half of the last four years to apply for a Danish passport.

A values test will also be introduced, with prospective Danish citizens answering five questions on subjects such as freedom of expression or the relationship between law and religion. Four of the five must be answered correctly to pass the test.

To gain citizenship, migrants must also not have any debts to the Danish government and must attend a ceremony and shake hands with a local government official.

The new rules come as the Danish government has vowed to tackle migrant crime, with Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen noting in October: “One in five young men from non-Western backgrounds who were born in 1997 had breached the penal code before the age of 21. One in five.”

In certain crimes, such as rape, migrants are heavily overrepresented. A report from earlier this month stated that nearly a quarter of those convicted for rape were migrants, with Syrian nationals making up the largest single nationality of perpetrators.

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