Danish immigration minister wants easier deportations for foreign lawbreakers

Denmark’s Minister for Immigration and Integration Kaare Dybvad Bek hopes to make it easier to deport foreign citizens who commit serious crimes in Denmark.

Danish immigration minister wants easier deportations for foreign lawbreakers
Immigration minister Kaare Dybvad Bek, pictured here at a previous briefing, wants to make it easier to deport foreign citizens who commit violent crimes in Denmark.Photo: Martin Sylvest/Ritzau Scanpix

The immigration minister wants to ensure that anyone without permanent residency or citizenship in Denmark would be deported if given an unconditional prison sentence.

“If you have committed very violent crime or are a violent criminal or rapist, you should not be allowed to stay in Denmark if you do not have permanent residency or are not a citizen,” Bek told news wire Ritzau.

The minister said he wants to do away with current standards, referred to as the ‘stepladder model,’ which mean that only more serious crimes can trigger deportation if the offender has lived in Denmark for longer than five or nine years. 

Bek earlier said there had been “very many cases” in which foreign nationals avoided deportation despite an unconditional prison sentence because they had resided in Denmark for a long time.

The minister’s proposal would only allow a foreign national with an unconditional sentence to remain in Denmark if international rights obligations observed by Denmark mandated it.

But Bek’s comments suggest that he has interpreted current rules incorrectly, according to Information’s reporting.

That is because current rules already provide for deportation of convicted violent criminals including rapists regardless of the length of time for which they have lived in Denmark. Crimes of this sort are exempted from the stepladder model.

In comments to newspaper Dagbladet Information, Bek did not elaborate why he cited violence and rape in relation to proposed stricter rules.

“Every deported criminal alien is good. No matter how many there are. The point is that we must do everything we can to get criminal aliens deported. That is what we are doing with these new deportation rules,” he told the newspaper in writing.

Bek’s ministry issued a written comment to Information saying the proposed changes would be ineffectual.

“The initial assessment is that the proposal would not result in significantly more deportations in practice,” it said.

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Denmark jails IS ‘wife’ for three years

A 35-year-old Danish woman was sentenced on Friday to three years in prison for entering Syria and promoting the Islamic State (IS) group's activities, prosecutors in Denmark said.

Denmark jails IS 'wife' for three years

During the mother of five’s trial, the prosecutor had argued that wives were a key part of IS.

“Even if you did not actively participate in the fighting, we assert that you can support the terrorist organisation by shopping in its supermarkets, by taking care of the children, by being a housewife,” prosecutor Trine Schjodt
Fogh said.

The woman, who pleaded guilty, was convicted of “having promoted the activities of IS, in particular by acting as the housewife and wife of a person who was active in the terrorist organisation,” the prosecution authority said in a statement.

She was also found guilty of having “entered and resided in al-Raqqa district in Raqqa province and Deir al-Zour province in Syria, which were defined as conflict zones during the period”.

The  woman, who is originally from the west of Denmark, arrived in Syria eight years ago, a journey she “bitterly” regrets, her lawyer Mette Gith Stage told news agency Ritzau.

“The last few years have been difficult for her, first in the caliphate, then in a prison camp and now in prison. She misses her children terribly and is eager for the case to end so that she and her children can move on,” the
lawyer said.

In October 2021, Denmark removed three women and 14 children from the Kurdish-controlled Roj camp in north-eastern Syria in a joint operation with Germany.

The three women were arrested on arrival in Denmark and have since been in detention and the trial that just ended marks the first of three.