ForumsWEPRRefugees. Let them in or kick them out?

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Alp_Ehni
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Alp_Ehni
315 posts
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As a person living in a very, VERY conservative part of Austria, refugees are not really welcome in the minds of many that live here.

Which is on the part of me and my family, not the case. I try to show my support of refugees by baking a cake for the local refugee center, raising my word in town discussions and so on. (Yes I'm 15 but still invited to those discussions / meetings)

So I just wanted to know what you, my dear Armorgames people, think of the whole refugee problematic.

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Doombreed
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Reviving this, in order to avoid making a new thread. This may be old but it is still just on the second page. Anyway, I've recently found out about this so I don't know if the story is true, or how old it is. Summoning @HahiHa because I am interested in reading his input

From what I've read, a village in Switzerland, Oberwil-Lieli just turned down a population of immigrants as low as 10. The village also agreed to pay a fine of 260,000 Euros approximately. Considering the wealth of that particular village's inhabitants, that was probably not a problem (the village's population is 2,200 and 300 of them are millionaires)

As its not a member of the EU, Switzerland could independently decide on its own course of action regarding the issue and chose to accept 3000 Syrian refugees along with 50,000 more from Italy and other countries.

Most of the inhabitants of this vilalge, including the town's Mayor, have denied allegations of xenophobia against them, supporting their stance by insisting that, while Syrian refugees most definitely need help and support, the financial assistance they offered in the form of the fine will be more helpful than accepting 10 refugees in their village.

First of all, I'd like to confirm the story and the details if possible. The source is in Greek but it is generally a trustworthy site, as I've found from other articles.

Second of all, if the story is true, I want to ask, what do you think of this? 260,000 Euros is certainly a respectable amount, especially considering that the alternative was to accept only 10 refugees, while hundreds of thousands are flowing in every day. But does this kind of behavior hinder the attempts to support the Syrian refugees and help build a connection with them? That kind of attitude surely contains some traces of prejudice and xenophobia. But do you believe the result in the end is more favorable?

HahiHa
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HahiHa
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*sigh* Yes, it appears to be true.

But let's start with more technical aspects (sorry for all the details to come, but it may be relevant). The canton decides how many asylum seekers each municipality has to receive. This is obligatory unless there are not enough localities or living place, in which case a compensation is paid (at least in theory; in practice it is apparently misused as a fine for refusing to accept to house asylum seekers even if there were options). Until the end of 2015 this compensation was 10 CHF per person (asylum seeker not housed) per day, at least in Aargau, the canton in which Oberwil-Lieli is located. The problem was that around half of the municipalities in the canton of Aargau refused to accept some or all asylum seekers they were to receive. Since the start of 2016, the probably somewhat symbolic fine has been raised from 10 to 110 CHF per person per day to compensate the canton for the housing and living costs. Now more municipalities have agreed to accept asylum seekers, but still not all, among them Oberwil-Lieli.

From what I understood, the municipal council had at first accepted the budget which didn't contain the 260'000 EUR fine, meaning the asylum seekers would have been accepted; but the mayor put this decision to a referendum which was voted on and accepted by the people. Before the payment of the fine is definitive however, the new budget will have to be accepted by the council. I assume it'll pass, but technically it could be adjourned again.

The argument of the mayor, and of many people supporting him, is the typical argument: we are being "flooded" and need to put a stop to it, municipalities should not accept every decision of the canton etc. But it is clear they simply don't want asylum seekers in their vicinity. Insofar I think his argument, which you mentioned, that the payment is more helpful, is in his case a mere excuse for his xenophobia, even if it happened to be right (which I don't think it is).

To give you a better picture of the mayor, know that he argued we should put barbwire all along our open borders and reintroduce systematic controls at the border posts. Supposedly because every other country is doing it (except Italy, but he believes Italy is a mere gate into Europe and no-one will ask for asylum there), leaving us under the perceived danger of being too attractive for asylum seekers. Which is funny because the FN (the extreme right party) in France also thinks they're too attractive. In reality, most refugees head for Germany, or at least a large part claims that is their itinerary.

While looking for articles, I came across one from last year. Apparently, among several issues in which the municipality of Oberwil-Lieli offered resistance to cantonal decisions was already one concerning asylum seekers. Apparently, a house owned by the canton was demolished and another one bought by the municipality, then demolished; under the pretense that those might have been turned into accommodation centers for asylum seekers. And the mayor really didn't want that. I think that gives a pretty good image of his motivations.

Now as for which is better, paying of hosting; I'm not sure, but the big issue is that no-one wants to host them, and so the cantons are stuck with many more people than initially planned which have to be accommodated somewhere. Switzerland could easily host all those people if every municipality took just a few in, but that doesn't really work in practice because there's a lack of solidarity.

Besides, it might turn out to be irrelevant. On the 5th of June, we are voting for a revision of the asylum decision system (no idea how else to call it; it's the procedure that makes the decision about applications for asylum). The revision would accelerate the procedure and plans larger centers where everything can be centralized, including the applicants. I'm not certain but I imagine it would alleviate the &quotressure" on municipalities. And yet the party to which the mayor of Oberwil-Lieli belongs, and which is normally quite conservative, is against this revision. Go figure.

Doombreed
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but the mayor put this decision to a referendum which was voted on and accepted by the people.

Yes and from what I read, it was close. 48% voted to take the immigrants in, while the remaining 52% voted to turn them down. From what I understand, the 48% that voted to take them in is ashamed by the decision themselves.

Insofar I think his argument, which you mentioned, that the payment is more helpful, is in his case a mere excuse for his xenophobia, even if it happened to be right (which I don't think it is).

Well, obviously his attitude (along with the part of the town that voted in favor of turning down the refugees) is very xenophobic. He also said that the refugees "would have a hard time integrating into society in that town, since they wouldn't know the language, their kids would have to go to a local school, they would have to work, they would have to stay somewhere, etc.". The fact that he demolished the empty buildings that could be used as shelters puts this into new perspective however, seeing as he is deliberately sabotaging the arrival of asylum seekers in his municipality.

Now as for which is better, paying of hosting; I'm not sure, but the big issue is that no-one wants to host them, and so the cantons are stuck with many more people than initially planned which have to be accommodated somewhere.

Funny how everyone wants to help the refugees but no one wants them close. Hopefully the funds collected from those fines (if it is not adjourned) can help in building accomodation centers, since I don't see any way to convince all these people to take their share of refugees in, if they are willing to do everything it takes in order to avoid that.

I'm not certain but I imagine it would alleviate the &quotressure" on municipalities. And yet the party to which the mayor of Oberwil-Lieli belongs, and which is normally quite conservative, is against this revision. Go figure.

My assumption here is that this is because they don't want refugees inside the country at all. They would much prefer to kick them out, so, this revision, despite taking the immediate pressure off the individual municipalities, it certainly advances the government's plan to house and integrate the immigrants into society.

HahiHa
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HahiHa
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He also said that the refugees "would have a hard time integrating into society in that town, since they wouldn't know the language, their kids would have to go to a local school, they would have to work, they would have to stay somewhere, etc.".

I would actually claim the contrary, that this would make integration into society easier, or at least force it a bit; rather than having all applicants together in one centralized accommodation without regular contact with the local population. That said, we are still talking about asylum seekers; they have yet to receive a decision. Integrating is especially important with those that are accepted. On the other hand, some have to wait up to a year or more until a decision is reached. This is one thing that the revision aims to improve, with prospected 30% shorter times for a decision to be made. Still, what is better for the applicants while they wait? Stay together and forgo the chance of already adapting to our society in case they are accepted? Or integrate themselves in a place they might have to leave if they are rejected?

Funny how everyone wants to help the refugees but no one wants them close. Hopefully the funds collected from those fines (if it is not adjourned) can help in building accomodation centers, since I don't see any way to convince all these people to take their share of refugees in, if they are willing to do everything it takes in order to avoid that.

I think one of the issues is that those people have never had contact with refugees before. There is a tendency to being more open and tolerant in places close to the borders, or which already made experiences with asylum seekers, compared to remote places (which usually tend to be generally more conservative) or such that have never had such experiences before. The contrary can be true sometimes, but usually that's what you see.

My assumption here is that this is because they don't want refugees inside the country at all. They would much prefer to kick them out, so, this revision, despite taking the immediate pressure off the individual municipalities, it certainly advances the government's plan to house and integrate the immigrants into society.

That is certainly part of the problem. The hardliners wanted the procedure not only to be sped up, but also tightened, which is only somewhat the case in this revision. Also, asylum seekers would benefit from free judiciary assistance from the beginning on, which is not yet the case, and this is another point of contention. Even though pretty much everyone else supports the revision.
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