People who were born in Switzerland but do not have a Swiss passport are being urged by the Swiss Federation of Trade Unions to become naturalised citizens.
The organisation says despite the rejection on Sunday of an initiative to automatically deport foreigners who commit certain crimes, people known as ‘secondos’ in Switzerland are still at risk of being sent to a country in which they have never lived, if they are convicted of a crime.
The Federation said on Monday at a press conference that they are appealing to all secondos to seriously consider applying to become Swiss. The Federation’s president and leftwing Social Democrat politician Paul Rechsteiner called on all parents without a Swiss passport to do everything in their power to ensure their children can apply to be Swiss, once they are eligible.
In 2010 the Swiss people voted in favour of a deportation initiative, also started by the conservative right Swiss People’s Party. People without a Swiss passport – a quarter of the Swiss population – who commit a serious crime (or two lesser crimes within ten years) could still be deported for up to 15 years. However, the courts will now be able to intervene if they think deportation will result in serious hardship for the person involved.
Rechsteiner is sceptical about how much protection the ‘hardship clause’ will give. “The practice among the courts and the authorities has intensified in the last ten or twenty years – especially against young people who were born and grew up here.”
swissinfo.ch and agencies