Support for tougher asylum laws rises: poll

Support for tougher asylum laws rises: poll
Campaign poster against changes to asylum laws. Photo:
A clear majority of Swiss support a toughening of laws on asylum seekers in the country, the results of a survey released on Wednesday show.

With voters set to decide in a referendum on a revision of the laws on June 9th, 57 percent favor the changes, according to a survey commissioned by the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation and conducted by the gfs.bern polling institute.

That’s up from 48 percent at the beginning of the month, with the number of undecided dropping to 14 percent from 23 percent.

The survey shows those opposed to the tougher asylum laws stable at around 29 percent.

Approved by parliament in September 2012, the laws eliminate the right of refugees to file an aylum request in a Swiss embassy.

They limit access for asylum seekers and speed the processes for reviewing applications and for sending back refugees not accepted into the country.

The legislation is designed to make it easier for the federal government to accommodate asylum seekers, thereby reducing the burden on the cantons.

And it also authorizes the placement of asylum seekers who threaten safety and public order to be placed in special centres for “recalcitrant” refugees.

The federal government and Swiss parliament backed the measures saying they were urgently need in the face of a rising population of asylum seekers.

Opponents collected enough signatures to put the issue to a referendum.

They argue that the laws, the latest in a series of restrictive changes, amount to a “dismantling” of the asylum system in Switzerland.

Support, meanwhile, remains relatively low for an initiative to allow citizens to directly vote for members of the federal government, a seven-person cabinet currently decided by members of the upper and lower houses of parliament.

The initiative, also to be decided on June 9th, is opposed by 66 percent of those surveyed, almost unchanged from the beginning of May (67 percent), according to gfs.bern.

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