Citizens’ movement failed – residents of Steckborn reject asylum center opponents – News

  • The voters of Steckborn in Thurgau clearly spoke out against a proposal from a citizens’ movement on Thursday evening.
  • This should have closed a federal asylum accommodation facility.
  • After almost two hours of discussion, the residents of Steckborn overwhelmingly voted for the continuation of the federal asylum center in their municipality.

692 voters took part in the extraordinary community meeting. Only a few dozen people supported the citizens’ movement’s motion. This wanted to terminate the rental agreement for the asylum accommodation between the municipality and the State Secretariat for Migration (SEM), which would have resulted in the center being closed.


The facility is underground – under the green meadow.


The vote was triggered by a petition from the “IG residents notasyl accommodation”, which was signed by 131 people from Steckborn. In accordance with the municipal regulations of the approximately 4,000 residents, they were able to bring their concerns to an extraordinary community meeting.

The arguments of the IG

Open the box
Close the box

The “IG Residents Emergency Shelter” writes in its petition that life in the entire city area and especially in the surrounding neighborhoods has been massively disrupted since the shelter was put into operation.

Disturbance of the peace, harassment, threats, theft and relieving oneself outdoors are listed as impairments.

The residents also find the civil defense facility not humane.

The town of Steckborn with 4,000 residents is currently assigned 120 to 220 asylum seekers. The civil defense facility has space for 270 people.

A security service employee stands next to an inconspicuous entrance.


Security checks are carried out at the main entrance to the property.


The accommodation was first used for refugees from Ukraine. For some time Mainly young men seeking asylum from Eritrea and Afghanistan are accommodated in the civil defense facility. According to the IG, this has a negative impact on the security situation in Steckborn.

SEM puts security incidents into perspective

According to SEM, there is talk of one to a maximum of eleven security incidents per month within the asylum center. That is ten times less than in the federal asylum center in Kreuzlingen.

The National Commission for the Prevention of Torture also commented on the Bühl civil defense facility in a report in August 2023 and identified deficiencies. The report is interpreted differently by residents and the city council.

The National Commission for the Prevention of Torture has in one report In August 2023, deficiencies in the Bühl civil defense facility were pointed out:

  • large-scale mold infestation
  • not suitable for accommodating asylum seekers of different genders
  • not suitable for accommodating 270 people

Mayor Roland Toleti puts the report into perspective: The conditions are not optimal, but also not as bad as the IG describes. According to the SEM, the deficiencies have been remedied.

The city council and parties were in favor of the emergency shelter

The city council emphasized at the meeting that, from their point of view, the security situation was not as precarious as described by the residents. Although surreptitious thefts have increased, they are being committed by gangs and not by asylum seekers. All local parties in Steckborn had spoken out in favor of the accommodation. Only the SVP had decided to release votes.

Mayor Roland Toleti is convinced that Steckborn made the best of the situation. The asylum seekers were deployed in road maintenance, private individuals and organizations offered meeting points, and security service patrols have now been increased.

Steckborn is one of 25 temporary ones Federal asylum centers in federal emergency planning.

There are also eight regularly planned temporary accommodation locations and twelve permanent locations.

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