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Denmark to ban convicted criminals from becoming citizens

The Danish government has managed to reach an agreement with several other political parties that any immigrant convicted of a serious crime should be prevented from becoming a citizen.

“Among immigrants, some are doing well, and then some are doing poorly,” said Danish Immigration and Integration Minister Mattias Tesfaye.

“We want to make sure that those who receive Danish citizenship have settled well in Danish society and have embraced Denmark — including Danish values.”

Additionally, the Liberal Party of Denmark backed the new measure, with the group’s deputy spokesperson, Morten Dahlin, telling Danish broadcaster DR that “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.”

Under the new measures, a migrant must have been employed for three and a half out of the last four years to apply for a passport, and any immigrant who has received a fine in excess of 3000 Danish krone (€403) will be barred from applying for citizenship for 6 years.

A simple “Danish values” test is currently in the process of being introduced, where applicants will have to answer five questions on key subjects such as free speech or separation of church and state. Applicants will be expected to get at least 4 of the 5 questions right, and if they fail to meet this standard their values are to be deemed incompatible and they will be denied Danish citizenship.

In addition, migrants must not have any debts to the Danish State, and must attend a ceremony in person to shake hands with a local government representative.

Migrant crime in Denmark has become a serious issue in recent years, with Danish Prime Minister, Mette Frederiksen of the Social Democrat party, saying 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.”

“The figures clearly show that we have a problem with an ethnic slant when relatively many foreigners are convicted of rape,” said Danish Minister of Justice, Nick Hækkerrup.

“Just as we have an obvious problem when more than half of the inmates in the country’s prisons and detention centers are immigrants, their descendants, or foreigners. It challenges our cohesion, and therefore it is also the government’s policy that foreigners without Danish citizenship, who are convicted of rape, must be deported, to the extent that there is a basis for it.”

According to a report released earlier this month, almost a quarter of those convicted for rape in Denmark were migrants, with Syrians in particular reportedly being overrepresented in the crime statistics, as reported in Danish news site BT.

Denmark was criticised by the EU this month for becoming the first European country to repatriate Syrian refugees on the basis that their home country was now safe and they no longer needed to seek refuge abroad.

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