Mass sexual assaults on women in Cologne have sparked heated debate in Germany on whether the country's current laws are tough enough on foreigners who do not adhere to them.
If asylum seekers are found guilty for participating in the New Year's Eve crimes that shocked the country, can Germany deport them?
Current law does not make a distinction between asylum seekers, migrants who have been living in Germany for longer and other foreigners.
Until the Residence Act was reformed last year, any criminal with a foreign passport sentenced to more than three years in jail faced deportation.
New regulations allow judges to weigh up the state's interests in deporting the person versus that individual's personal and professional ties to Germany.
The case for deportation is strong if the foreign national receives a custodial sentence of more than two years, or if he or she is found to be a threat to the state or a terrorist.
Legislation also outlines a "particularly strong case for deportation" if a person commits crimes against "parts of society and subsequently attacks the dignity of others."
German constitutional law conforms to the Geneva Convention, which dictates that foreign nationals may not be deported to their home countries if this puts them in a life-threatening situation or impacts their freedom on the grounds of race, religion or nationality.
However, those convicted of threatening state security or sentenced to a prison term of over three years in Germany may not invoke this law in appealing deportation.
Wednesday, January 13, 2016 - 10:56
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