Arguing about Asylum: The Complexity of Refugee Debates in by Niklaus Steiner (auth.)

By Niklaus Steiner (auth.)

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Extra info for Arguing about Asylum: The Complexity of Refugee Debates in Europe

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Braunschweig (Social Democrat) argued, “This revision has been influenced by xenophobia found in segments of our population. ” Günter (Independent) warned that this revision was so rash and poorly conceived that it would have to be revised again within a few years. ”35 The border gates especially met the critique of not following democratic principles. Günter (Independent) dismissed them as “not serious legislating,” and Braunschweig (Social Democrat) complained that these gates did not receive nearly the careful scrutiny that a new hunting law had received the previous day.

12 This second revision of the Asylum Law was challenged by a popular referendum, but the referendum was solidly defeated on April 5, 1987 by a 2:1 ratio. 13 Despite its intent, the second revision also failed to change the situation as the number of asylum applicants kept outpacing the number of completed cases. 14 As asylum became increasingly controversial, tension grew between federal and cantonal governments. In 1987, for example, the federal government decided to deport 30 Tamils who had been denied asylum.

8 Following World War II, Switzerland joined the international effort to deal with future refugee waves. 9 Until the late 1970s, granting asylum remained an uncontroversial issue. The only time this number climbed significantly (to over 10,000) was with the arrival of Hungarians after 1956, Czechoslovakians after 1968, and Vietnamese in the late 1970s. An important change in Swiss asylum policy came with the introduction of the 1979 Asylum Law (Asyl Gesetz). This law for the first time clearly defined the term refugee.

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