Merkel Proposes Tougher Migrant Deportation Laws amid Protests

EU | January 9, 2016, Saturday // 16:25|  views

German Chancellor and CDU leader Angela Merkel speaks at a press conference after the closed session meeting of the CDU federal executive in Mainz, Germany, January 09, 2016. EPA/BGNES

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has proposed that asylum seekers on probation or who committed any kind of crime should be sent back to their countries of origin.

This comes after multiple sex attacks on women in the city of Cologne and elsewhere that took place on New Year's Eve and that were reportedly committed by men of North African and Arab appearance.

With police withholding information about the origin of attackers for several days, and after controversial remarks by local authorities, the issue has sparked outrage from some segments of society questioning migrant policy.

Two parallel protests began in the city of Cologne on Saturday afternoon, with anti-immigrant PEGIDA movement rallying next to citizens calling for and end to both sexism and racism, Die Welt reports.

Women and men protest against racism and sexism in the wake of the sexual assaults on New Year`s Eve, outside the cathedeal in Cologne, Germany, January 09, 2016.

German police stand in front of demonstrators protesting against a rally by the anti-Islam PEGIDA movement of North Rhine-Westphalia and right-wing party Pro Koeln, outside the main station in Cologne, Germany, January 09, 2016.

At a meeting of ruling Christian Democrat Union (CDU), the party of Merkel, the latter proposed a step that would drastically change current rules.

Asylum seekers are currently sent back only if they have been handed a sentence of at least three years and the situation in their countries is not putting their own lives at risk.

But if new rules are approved by Parliament, police might be granted more powers to check migrants' identity documents.

Germany's open-door policy that was started last year with the government virtually inviting all Syrian migrants to the country has sparked controversy, with over a million people having arrived to the country in less than a year.

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Tags: Cologne, Merkel, migrants, Christian Democrat Union, Germany


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