Strong criminality – Foreigners out

Article published on Jan. 24, 2008
Article published on Jan. 24, 2008
Populism in the German and French policies Next Sunday, elections in Hesse and Lower Saxony for the parliament are to take place. The Prime Minister in Hesse, Roland Koch from CDU leads his campaign on the juvenile delinquency. Last December, a pensioner was attacked in the Munich’s Underground by a young foreigner.
Roland Koch used this incident to demand heavier sentences for foreign delinquents, a foreign could be for example expelled more easily after a repeat offence.

Herbert Rückschlag for an integration line

Roland Koch has been criticised for his approach by the SPD, which reproaches him to split the society and to set the different social groups against themselves. The SPD President, Kurt Beck, demanded the clarification of the offences, but also an integration summit, to ensure better training opportunities for foreigners. The demand for heavier sentences was criticised by judges, State Attorneys, and criminologists too. Scientific studies would show that heavier sentences would lead to a higher repeat offence rate but no decline in crimes. “Criminality has social causes” Wolfgang Heinz, criminologist, says. Migrants associations warned in a public letter to Angela Merkel and Roland Koch that the election campaign was considering it in a short term and meant “a big set back for the integration line, so important for the society.”  

Roland Koch the repeat offender

Only the CDU and Angela Merkel are backing up Roland Koch and want to discuss the so-called warning shot arrest, the boot camps and the implementation of the adults’ sentences for those from 18 (in Germany, the age of criminal responsibility is 21). The CDU doesn’t share his view only concerning his demand for the increase in sentences for children under 14. No children in jail, says their spokesperson. The Prime Minister had on the contrary excluded a “very aggressive criminality in a very small group of under 14.” This smear campaign for the elections is not new for Roland Koch. In 1999 already, he fulminated against the Schröder government bill to enforce the dual nationality. Fears against too many foreigners were stirred up by the slogan –we are not Evangelists and Catholics – and Roland Koch won the election.

« Scum » and DNA tests in France

Policy against foreigners is not only on the agenda in Germany but also in France. Nicolas Sarkozy was really liked as a Prime Minister because he led with an iron hand and his motto for the struggle against crime was Zéro Tolérance. In the suburbs, where many foreigners live, Nicolas Sarkozy spoke of scum, who needed to be cleaned with a high pressure cleaner. With theses statements, a lot of inhabitants felt hurt. A bit later, the civil disturbance followed during a few weeks, after the death of two young men in Clichy-sous-Bois. The former Minister of the Interior reinforced the immigration laws several times and made more difficult for the families to follow. In the latest immigration law, this time under the presidency of Nicolas Sarkozy, DNA tests are planned to prove the filiation of the immigrants’ children when there’s no official papers confirming it. These tests were sharply criticised because the immigrants would then be criminalised. Heavier sentences are not only up-to-date in Hesse. In France, the law about repeat offenders is already enacted. French jails are already overcrowded, which will become worse. 

The reproach against Roland Koch about splitting the society could also be applied to Nicolas Sarkozy. Foreigners will not be used as scapegoats only with DNA tests. His Immigration and National Identity Minister, Brice Hortefeux, plans to expel in 2008 25,000 illegal immigrants. Nicolas Sarkozy is already President, for Roland Koch, it will be decided on Sunday whether he can stay as a Prime Minister.  

 Lars Weber.