Wednesday, August 25, 2004

POLITICS: Swiss debate strong asylum restrictions

Zurich - Right-wing Swiss politician Christoph Blocher presented a set of asylum-law changes Wednesday meant to keep frivolous asylum seekers out of Switzerland.

Blocher announced the changes as the official representative of Switzerland's Federal Council, they must still be approved by the country's Council of States.

The new asylum package would make Switzerland less attractive to asylum seekers who might be rejected, Blocher said.
"These people shouldn't come in the first place," Blocher said.

The new plan would extend the maximum allowable detention time for rejected asylum seekers from 9 months to 18 months to ensure more of them actually leave Switzerland. Rejected asylum seekers will also be made ineligible for welfare.

Blocher and others are worried Switzerland could be overrun with immigrant workers posing as asylum seekers.

The United Nations refugee agency has questioned that. Swiss Federal Refugee Office numbers indicate the number of asylum seekers coming to Switzerland is currently at its lowest point since 1990.

Copyright: UPI


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