Swiss-Italian border patrols target illegal immigration

Members of Italy's police force (left) and two Swiss border guards as officials signed a deal on joint border patrols in the border town of Chiasso on Monday. © Ti-press

Switzerland and Italy have begun joint border patrols following a deal signed more than two years ago aimed at combatting illegal immigration between the two neighbouring countries.

This content was published on February 18, 2019 - 15:37 with ATS-SDA; ug

The Federal Tax Administration said on Monday that mixed patrols involving Swiss and Italian border guards and police forces had completed several months of training and were now operational along the border between canton Ticino in southern Switzerland and the Italian provinces of Como and Varese in northern Italy.

Under the cooperation deal, when on active service in the neighbouring country the Italian and Swiss guards will have slightly limited powers compared to normal.

Their role will involve assisting, advising and informing their colleagues.

The joint border patrols are part of an accord on police and border guard cooperation signed by the Swiss and Italian governments in November 2016.

Illegal immigration, notably by refugees from Africa, have regularly caused tensions between the two countries in the past.

In a diplomatic incident, the Swiss ambassador to Rome was summoned by the Italian foreign ministry in April 2017 following the night-time closure of three border crossings with Italy in an apparent effort to combat crime.

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