Foreigners living in Switzerland will be subject to automatic deportations for criminal activity if a referendum passes at the end of the month.
The proposal will go to a binding popular vote Feb. 28. Foreigners would automatically be deported after serving their prison sentences, while people who commit lesser crimes — such as speeding — would require two violations within a 10-year period to qualify for expulsion.
Switzerland has a large foreign population with about a quarter of its eight million people being non-citizens. The country’s role as a financial powerhouse with favorable tax rates has attracted a lot of foreign professionals. It has also seen a large refugee stream from the Blakans and Africa in recent decades.
Foreigners now account for 68 percent of Switzerland’s prison population. The crime rate among foreigners has turned anti-immigration party Swiss People’s Party (SVP) into the largest in the country. SVP tailored the referendum, and the vote is expected to be a close call.
Deporting a foreign national who has become a permanent resident is a lengthy process in most countries. Jessica Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies, told The Daily Caller News Foundation that deportation procedures for permanent residents in the U.S. are rare compared to other immigration categories.
“Permanent residents can be deported potentially if they commit an aggravated felony or a crime of moral turpitude,” Vaughan said, adding that worse crimes such as murder, rape “and anything that involves national security and terrorism” are more easily deportable.
Of the 368,485 people who were deported in 2013, just 21,279 had legal status when entering the country, according to Vaughn.
U.S.deportations among permanent residents can be appealed, unlike the Swiss proposal.
“They are entitled to an immigration hearing,” Vaughn told TheDCNF. “Sometimes it go to the Supreme Court.”
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