The federal authorities say they are considering a proposal to set up special housing for criminal asylum seekers under restraining orders.
Mario Gattiker, head of the Federal Migration Office, said he was open to the idea from canton Ticino, which has been bearing the brunt of a wave of asylum seekers entering from neighbouring Italy.
The plan was launched by a prominent member of the Lega dei Ticinesi movement in the Ticino government.
In an interview with the SonntagsZeitung newspaper Gattiker said the proposed containers outside the town of Chiasso were not detention camps, but it made sense to separate criminals from the vast majority of law-abiding asylum seekers.
He said the government was also funding a special activity programme for immigrants.
Residents in the border region have regularly complained about incidents allegedly committed mainly by young asylum seekers from North Africa.
However, a senior representative of the Catholic Church has expressed concern about a perceived increase in xenophobia among the Swiss public over the past few years.
swissinfo.ch and agencies