Swiss national councillor Simonetta Sommaruga has revealed that the problem of asylum seekers arriving into the country with no papers is so extensive the government does not know the true identities of nine out of 10 migrants.
According to Sommaruga, between January 1, 2006, and December 31, 2016, Switzerland saw a total of 151,300 asylum seekers register in the country under false identities. The figures come after Swiss People’s Party politician Barbara Steinemann made the government concede that as many as 96 per cent of underage asylum seekers had no form of identification, Basler Zeitung reports.
Sommaruga said that some of the blame falls under the fact that names in Arabic can be spelt differently making it look like there were multiple people whilst there was just one individual. Whilst she downplayed the idea of asylum seekers purposely using fake identities, there is nothing in Swiss law to prosecute or bring criminal charges against asylum seekers using fake names.
When Steinman asked how many asylum seekers with fake identities had achieved asylum, Sommaruga said that only asylum seekers with confirmed identities received full asylum – though 60,573 were given temporary permits.
In 2015, Switzerland saw 77 per cent of migrants arrive without papers and in 2016 the figure jumped to 81 per cent. When asked how many of the cases had been resolved and the migrants identified, Sommaruga said in 2015 only 4,091 were identified out of 39,523 and in 2016 only 2,706 migrants out of 27,207.
Migrants, especially underage migrants, entering Europe without papers has become the norm in many countries. In Germany, an estimated 80 per cent of migrants have come into the country without identification, many claiming to be underage.
Undercover journalist Abdullah Khan spent several months at migrant reception centres and said: “Many pose as minors travelling alone, because word has spread that they will qualify for more benefits. … To lie about their age, many people use false passports and other identity documents.”
In order to better determine the identities of the migrants, the German government proposed seizing the mobile phones of the incoming asylum seekers in order to better determine who they were.