Refugees are finding new routes into the European Union. Swiss authorities have noticed a rise in border crossings from Italy.
Large numbers of refugees have appeared in the border region between Domodossola, Italy, and Brig. Most are Eritrean, followed by Gambians and Nigerians.
Miriam Behrens, director of the Swiss Refugee Council, has criticized the government’s handling of the borders. “We see a type of racial profiling,” she said. “Those with darker skin are pulled off trains and buses for questioning. The authorities have relatively wide leeway.”
Refugees can apply for asylum in Switzerland and remain there. “Many I’ve spoken to are unaware of the concept of asylum,” Behrens said.
Most refugees who reach Switzerland want to continue onto Germany or Sweden, Behrens said, because “many have relatives or acquaintances there.” Even applicants for Swiss asylum may continue northward.