The rightwing Swiss People’s Party has defended its initiative on automatically deporting any foreigner convicted of a serious crime.
Party officials said on Friday in Bern that many Swiss no longer felt safe because of “massive immigration” and the “lax attitude” of the courts and that it was time to make foreign criminals understand what their actions would cost.
Representative Adrian Amstutz warned that something must be done to counter “the high proportion of foreigners committing serious crimes”.
The initiative calls for the automatic expulsion of foreigners convicted of serious crimes, such as rape and murder. It also includes welfare fraud. Currently deportation is not mandatory.
The People’s Party also believes that because decision-making on deporting criminals is in the hands of cantonal administrations, legislation is not being properly applied in many cases.
Swiss citizens will also have to vote on a counterproposal approved by parliament in June after a heated debate. It sets out a more specific list of expulsion crimes than the People’s Party version.
It includes a line that deportations should respect the Swiss constitution and international law.
The proposed tightening of current rules goes to a nationwide vote on November 28.
swissinfo.ch and agencies