I’ve mentioned before that things look to be getting very ugly for immigrants in Switzerland, with the rise of overtly racist, xenophobic campaigning. But now, they’re taking things up a notch.

First, the changes to criminal laws: one provision would allow judges to deport serious criminals after they’ve served their time in prison. That’s not the provision causing the ruckus though. From the Daily Mail:

But far more dramatically, it has announced its intention to lay before parliament a law allowing the entire family of a criminal under the age of 18 to be deported as soon as sentence is passed. It will be the first such law in Europe since the Nazi practice of Sippenhaft – kin liability – whereby relatives of criminals were held responsible for their crimes and punished equally.

Ok. This has sent up some red flags, and has even “caused the UN’s special rapporteur on racism to ask for an official explanation from the government.” I should hope so. And while they’re at it they can ask for an explanation of this lovely “racist sheep” ad that one political party circulated.

Racist Sheep!

Not since I saw a trailer for a New Zealand horror flick about zombie-sheep have the fluffy little critters seemed so sinister. (Seriously, watch that trailer).

Anyways….Switzerland is under some extraordinary pressure from immigration, it must be admitted. Between one in four and one in five Swiss residents is an immigrant, and immigrants are statistically four times as likely to commit crimes. Dr. Ulrich Schlüer, he of the sinister sheep poster, explains his position thusly:

“In a suburb of Zürich, a group of youths between 14 and 18 recently raped a 13-year-old girl,” he said. “It turned out that all of them were already under investigation for some previous offence. They were all foreigners from the Balkans or Turkey. Their parents said these boys are out of control. We say: ‘That’s not acceptable. It’s your job to control them and if you can’t do that you’ll have to leave’. It’s a punishment everyone understands.”

Well, it’ll certainly have parents with unruly teens scared stiff. One blogger here, at Cynics Unlimited, defends the not-entirely-unreasonable position that if you commit a crime you should be liable to deportation. If I, for example, were to go on a murderous rampage, I don’t think I could really hold it against Spain if they sent me home. But this blogger does bring up some interesting shades of gray to the issue.

Bottom line: it’s a very dramatic new development in the rise of xenophobia here in Europe.