Austria’s Biggest Party Would Deport Criminal Asylum Seekers

Illustration (Photo: Max Fleischmann / UnSplash)

The Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ) has announced its intention to launch a nationwide referendum that, if adopted by the people, would see all asylum seekers who have been convicted of a crime deported, according to Brussels-based publication The European Conservative.

Calls for the referendum come almost exactly two years after the infamous “Leonie case,” where three males from Afghanistan raped and murdered a 13-year-old Bavarian girl named Leonie before getting rid of her body in the country’s capital.

One of the perpetrators’ asylum application had been rejected because he had been convicted of drug trafficking. Although the authorities issued him a deportation order, he continued to reside in the country before going on to commit the crime. All three perpetrators arrived in Austria in 2015, at the height of the migration crisis that hit Europe.

Asylum applications filed between 2021 and 2022 have tripled, jumping from 39,930 to 108,490 in that time span, representing the largest year-over-year percentage increase of any EU member state. Around 75 percent of applicants were male.

The referendum might have traction among the population since FPÖ is the most popular party with an approval rate of around 30 percent according to PolitPro.

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