Justice minister pledges tougher asylum stance

Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga has responded to criticism of the federal government’s handling of asylum seekers.

This content was published on June 26, 2011 - 11:35 and agencies

In an interview with the Sonntags Blick newspaper, Sommaruga said she favoured cracking down on asylum seekers behaving disgracefully.

She said in difficult cases persons should be given coupons instead of money to prevent the purchase of alcohol. “When it’s necessary, the cantons could introduce curfews or designate no-go areas,” Sommaruga added.

She reiterated her promise to process applications from immigrants seeking work. “There are mostly migrant workers coming from North Africa. They have no right to asylum.”

At a news conference in Bern on Friday, the justice and police directors of the 26 cantons accused the federal authorities of taking too long to process claims and of sending asylum seekers from federal processing centres to the cantons too quickly.

The directors called on federal authorities to prioritise claims from people who had already lodged asylum claims in another country, and to stop sending these people – some 55 per cent of claimants – to the cantons all together.

Sommaruga told the SonntagsZeitung that Europe’s Dublin Regulation on asylum procedures was “not always perfect, but basically worked well”. She said that over 1,500 foreigners had been sent back to the country which they used to first enter Europe.

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