Earlier this year, Tina Turner made headlines when she relinquished her U.S citizenship to officially become a Swiss citizen. Turner did not “formally renounce her U.S. citizenship under 349(a)(5) Immigration and Nationality Act, but took Swiss citizenship with the intent to lose her U.S. citizenship”.
Turner has been a resident of Switzerland for nearly two decades, and told authorities that she no longer has any strong ties to the United States “except for family, and has no plans to reside in the United States in the future.”
Fortunately for Turner, her predicament is a far cry from the tens of thousands of immigrants seeking asylum in Switzerland.
Quietly this summer, Switzerland’s local authorities have introduced apartheid like restrictions which ban asylum-seekers from using public places such as school playgrounds, swimming pools and libraries. Switzerland also has built bunker like “camps” for aslyum seekers, miles away from the cities which prevent them from even getting close to any public place. They cannot leave after 5pm and spend their days building infrastructure and mountain roads
Raymond Tellenbach, the mayor of Bremgarten, a town west of Zurich said the measures are for safety reasons. “We have decided on security grounds not to allow access to these areas, to prevent conflict and guard against possible drug use.”
Currently there are close to 50,000 people seeking asylum in Switzerland from countries like Afghanistan, Syria and Eritrea.
Many asylum seekers have traveled to Switzerland because of family that are already being housed there. To ensure that new asylum seekers are actually relatives of present ones, the some Swiss canton are also implementing DNA testing, specifically to Eritreans.
“Identity papers or birth certificates must be considered as suspect,” guidelines from the migration service say.
Many human rights groups have denounced the laws as intolerable and racist.
A spokesman for Switzerland’s non-governmental Refugee Council described the restraining orders as “intolerable and inhuman” and demanded that the authorities suspend the measures. “It is up to the authorities to create an atmosphere of openness,” the spokesman added. The human rights group Solidarité Sans Frontières said the restrictions were “blatantly discriminatory.”