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Deportation Mania

Leaving Switzerland behind bars, image: Nicolas Macgowan/flickr

Zurich Airport, 18 March 2010. A Nigerian immigrant, convicted of drug dealing died shortly before boarding the plane on which he was to be deported to his home country. As a consequence, deportation of illegal immigrants was stopped. Diplomatic relations between Switzerland and Nigeria became strained.

Of the 1800 Nigerians who immigrated to Switzerland last year, only 1 percent were granted asylum. The rest are asked to leave the country. Those who refuse to move are deported forcefully.

Last week the Swiss government announced that a memorandum of understanding¬† with Nigeria had been signed, allowing for “special flights” to be resume on 1 January 2011. A Nigerian state secretary insisted that Nigeria agreed “voluntarily” and his Swiss counterpart talked of a “win-win-situation.”

What’s the deal?