Migration boss slams move to expel foreigners

A rightwing-backed move to deport foreign criminals more readily has come under fire from the head of the Federal Migration Office who says it's “disproportionate”.

This content was published on June 5, 2010 - 16:06 and agencies

Director Alard du Bois-Reymond said in an interview published on Saturday that committing even relatively trivial crimes would be reason enough to expel up to four times as many foreigners as today. Currently about 350-400 foreign criminals get sent home each year.

Du Bois-Reymond said a counterproposal that made its way through the House of Representatives last week would deport only those foreign criminals guilty of more serious offences. Estimates say the number of expulsions under that measure would probably be double today’s rate.

The counterproposal would also take more preventative steps by working to integrate foreigners better into society. “Unfortunately foreigners are often associated with crime,” de Bois-Reymond said. “But Switzerland also benefits a lot from foreigners, too.”

The Swiss People’s Party, which collected more than 210,000 signatures starting in 2008 to force a vote on the issue, says the counterproposal is too watered down.

“It opens up the way for numerous appeals and complaints,” the party said on a website created for the initiative. “For this reason the People's Party stands fully behind the people’s initiative, because only it guarantees a consistent expulsion of criminal foreigners.” and agencies

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