Calls to Toughen Deportation Laws for Foreign Teen Thugs

Aneeka Simonis, Herald Sun, December 18, 2017

Violent teen migrants in Victoria are avoiding deportation under current law, despite repeated criminal convictions.

Foreign national minors cannot be deported, though it emerged last week that the federal government is considering changing the law.

A parliamentary committee investigating why some migrant groups integrate better than others has recommended automatically cancelling the visas of violent criminals as young as 16, who would be deported once they turned 18.

The threshold for expelling adult offenders would also be lowered.

Police documents obtained by the Herald Sun show several highly violent foreign citizen minors in Victoria have been charged with a string of serious offences, including armed robbery, assault, attacking police and drug possession.

One, responsible for 50 serious crimes, was finally deported in January last year, after he turned 18.

He was booted from the country because existing laws prevent authorities deporting children due to their age.

Sudanese and Pacific Islanders make up a large proportion of the foreign youths who are in detention or on parole in Victoria.

Federal MP Jason Wood, who is chairing the parliamentary committee, said those on visas who commit serious and violent crimes had no right to become Australian citizens.

“We must protect Australians first, especially from the wave of over-represented serious crimes, especially home invasion,’’ Mr Wood said.

The visa of an adult offender is automatically cancelled if the person is convicted of a sexual crime involving a child, or is sentenced to 12 months or more in jail. But those receiving a lesser sentence can avoid expulsion.

In 2012, refugee Behzad Bashiri, 35, got a six-month suspended jail term in Queensland, after he drenched himself in petrol and threatened to set a government office alight.

According to police, he has since gone on to threaten to blow up Australians and mow down police with a truck.

Victorian police have expressed “grave fears” about him, and his visa has been cancelled and he is in immigration detention, but Iran won’t accept an unwilling citizen’s return.

Another Iranian, Reza Yazdan Parast, 32, avoided likely deportation over the brutal bashing of two strip club patrons in Dandenong last year.

The bouncer avoided a conviction and was given community service.

The court heard he would almost certainly have been expelled had he been sentenced to jail.

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