Swiss vote to deport foreigners convicted of crimes |

Swiss vote to deport foreigners convicted of crimes

PARIS — Switzerland voted in a referendum yesterday to automatically expel foreigners convicted of crimes ranging from murder to false claims for unemployment insurance.

The measure, which was approved by 53 percent of voters, highlighted a growing unease with the number of immigrants in Western Europe who arrive from poor countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East to take advantage of the continent’s peace, prosperity and generous social protections.

The European Union’s border patrol force, Frontex, earlier this month deployed international armed guards along a stretch of the Greece-Turkey border that had become a major entry point for illegal Afghan, Iraqi, Iranian and North African immigrants.

But the richest European countries already have large populations of legal and illegal immigrants, more than 20 percent in Switzerland’s case.

The referendum was held on an initiative from the ultranationalist Swiss People’s Party, which sponsored a vote last year that banned the construction of minarets beside mosques.

Both proposals were opposed by elected officials in the federal government in Bern but were endorsed by a majority of those voting in the binding referendums.

Under the terms of the referendum, the government is required to expel foreigners convicted of serious crimes after they complete their jail terms and to forbid them from returning for as long as 20 years.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.