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Abstract

The following chapter summaries from an historical perspective recent developments of Swiss migration policy with a particular focus to the challenges given by the federal system and direct democracy on the local level of integration policy. It starts with a comprehensive historical summary on the rationales of immigration to Switzerland and continues with an institutional analysis of Swiss migration policies, setting the focus on federalism, consociationalism and direct democracy, and the consequences for the local actors. The authors highlight examples of current local initiatives, due to the absence of in-depths studies on the effectiveness and the impact of these policies on the local level. Thus, it follows a short overview based on the first study on migration and public opinion on migrants. Finally, the article concludes with remarks on the current integration framework with a particular emphasis on the cantonal and municipal actors, suggesting more studies to be done in the future with regard to local integration policies.

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