Is current Swiss immigration policy the future of American immigration policy? Isn't this where the Tea Party want to takes us? If you don't think it can happen in America, read on.

Written by an American expat living in the E.U.

The alpine nation of Switzerland has declared WAR on the European Union's freedom of movement treaty, along with open borders negotiated throughout the European Union which the Swiss originally over a decade ago through years of negotiations voluntarily joined (though technically not as an EU member state). This new law has just passed on Sunday and was done through a referendum vote sponsored by a far right political  party the so called SVP (people's party) which is a party built largely on a class based anti-foreigner xenophobic platform which seeks to promulgate hatred, intolerance and the expulsion of foreigners and the closing off of Switzerland to the outside world as an island fortress with migration quotas. As such, this promulgates new laws of intolerance that are a huge step backwards in the heart of the progressive minded European Union.

Having regard to the poster depicting foreign hands grabbing Swiss passports, it should be said that immigrant couples must fulfill a 12 year waiting period of residence before being able to even apply for Swiss citizenship. Which is the longest waiting period  for citizenship anywhere in Europe. Also it should be noted that 23% of the Swiss population being foreign is exaggerated by the fact that approximately a quarter of these people were actually born in Switzerland and have lived there for their whole lives but were unable to obtain citizenship due to strict naturalization laws and are therefore considered to be foreigners. (This is something that is inconceivable to Americans as being born on U.S. soil confers citizenship automatically on all native born populations without having regard to who their parents are. (This is what the Tea Party want is for native born not to have U.S. citizenship). Therefore the Swiss claim of being overrun by foreigners seems clearly exaggerated, so as to profit from such exaggeration by beating anti-immigrant drums, so as to stoke a class based xenophobia directed against the European Union's working class masses).  

This isn't an old story about greedy Swiss bankers enriching themselves by hording Nazi gold stolen from Holocaust survivors and this isn't the same old story about Switzerland promulgating laws to deport poor foreigners who are cheating on unemployment or welfare benefits. This is instead a story of Switzerland's new class based xenophobia, directed not at rich foreigners but at working class foreign immigration to Switzerland which is promulgated by the populous far right SVP People's Party. As such this has frighten the day lights out of progressive EU politicians from across the entire EU block (which is over 500 million strong), of the rise again of far right wing populism, hatred and class based xenophobia taking hold in Europe once again, leading us back to the disastrous history that plagued Europe in the last century and broke out two world wars. This is from a tiny alpine nation of 8 million people punching far above its weight (as it is less than the population size of London, England). It is sad as well as a frightening spectacle to behold because it marks the rise in Europe to the old ghosts of hatred and class based xenophobia.

From the German mainstream magazine DER SPIEGEL
 Quote:  A Land of Money and Fear: The Swiss Vote Against 'Mass Migration'

A Contradictory Self-Image

How is this possible? One important reason is the contradictory self-image of the Swiss. Switzerland views itself as a nation forged by the will of the people -- a community that decided to come together and create a state. The truth is precisely the opposite -- the Swiss state wasn't forged by will. Switzerland's regions haven't come together because it is their inner-most wish to do so. The reasoning is more profane. The German-language areas don't want to belong to Germany, the Suisse romande don't want to be a part of France and the Ticinesi don't want to become part of Italy. Instead, they are Swiss.

But an identity built on the rejection of an alternative has its weaknesses. Ever since the charisma associated with William Tell and the Old Swiss Confederacy faded, the mythological underpinnings of oft-evoked Swiss exceptionalism have vanished. The only thing remaining to substitute for a national identify is prosperity. Being richer than those surrounding you -- it's still something. But there's a flipside: Those who have a lot also have a lot to lose. And the prospect of having to share the francs that have piled up with immigrants can quickly spiral into existential angst. To exaggerate just a little: There wouldn't be much left in being Swiss if the country's standard of living were to regress to that of the Germans or, God forbid, the French or the Italians.


As the EU in order to avoid a Swiss originated avalanche of similar referendum being held in European Union member countries, it is quite conceivable that the EU will have to consider strong sanctions against Switzerland, so as to make an example of them. Under the pressure of such even threatened EU sanctions, it is quite conceivable that the French Swiss Romande may well themselves have to threaten to leave the Swiss Confederation in the matter of the anti-immigration vote, that they did not support.

It must be asked how much longer can the French Swiss Romande allow the German Swiss rural rube descendants of William Tell to take pot shots and attempts to shoot the apples off the Romande children's heads, so as to keep the apples from falling into the hands of cartoon EU vermin before someone concludes that the assumption of risk of the next generation of French Swiss Romande have become untenably high, to the point when someone says it's in the interests of the French Romande to go their own way and leave the Swiss Confederation.

In fact as Switzerland is only a nation of 8 million souls, 6 million of whom are Swiss citizens, it isn't inconceivable at all that this population substantially less than the population of the city of London could well vote to disband the present Swiss Confederation. Switzerland itself as a country as we presently know it will no longer exist. While we may speculate on this point and others, one thing is absolutely clear no one knows exactly what the future will hold. No one knows what will happen to the Swiss aviation industry if landing rights from the EU are restricted by quota in concert with the Swiss immigration quota. No one will know what will happen to the Swiss pharmaceutical industry whose majority export is the European Union. Precisely the same can be said of the Swiss manufacturing industry etc.

The primary target market of Swiss rural rube voters in German speaking Switzerland who voted for the immigration quota system may find themselves isolated and discover they may have bitten off more than they can chew, because they've succeeded in unleashing Europe wide anger against Switzerland, who has been resented for generations for being too rich and in your face xenophobic. This is a carefully nurtured multi-generational bias against the Swiss that these Germanic rural Swiss voters have now succeeded in  waking. In the clear case where they have woken that sleeping dog, it becomes impossible to predict the consequences that this may now unleash in a Europe which has been weary for generations of Swiss xenophobia.  

LET THE HATE FLOW This important story has absolutely dominated headlines in the European Union, Asia and around the world, yet it seems to be under-reported in the plutocrat owned US media, which is always reticent to impose Wall Street jitters.  Because it will remind Americans that we too suffer from a racist immigration policy where so  many mass deportations have occurred in the last half a dozen years, that it actually has exceeded the deportation figures under GW Bush. Just like the Swiss we cite all the same reasons, such as pressure on housing and transportation. The case in point in Switzerland for progressive minded Americans is nonetheless important to watch and be mindful of, as it clearly shows us where America could be headed if progressives don't join with other people of conscience to act in keeping with standards of dignity and human rights.

In closing with reguard to U.S. immigration policy I offer the following quote below. In doing so I  ask how far behind the Swiss are we in America? Is this the America we want to live in?

Alternet: "Immigrants Fight Record Deportations with Protests, Hunger Strikes"
"As the number of immigrants deported under Obama approaches two
million, undocumented immigrants are increasing their direct actions."
Please remember that the Tea Party doesn't want the native born to have citizenship therein making them eligible for deportation. Just like the Swiss model.

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