Switzerland says ‘We’re full’

By John Lloyd
February 10, 2014

Swiss voters have opted for stiff restrictions on immigrants entering the country — including those from European Union countries. In doing so, they’ve given joy to the burgeoning anti-immigrant, anti-EU parties, a blow to the politicians and officials in Brussels and a blaring warning to center parties on the continent and everywhere.

In Europe, the consensus on immigration has always been fragile — and now it’s being shredded to bits.

The vote was narrow — 50.3 percent of the electorate with a mere 19,000 votes. However, this is Switzerland, where the people’s voice is paramount. Over the next three years, the federal authorities must develop strict immigration curbs designed to sharply reduce the inflow of immigrants who now make up between 23 and 27 percent of the population of eight million, the second-highest proportion in Europe (after Luxembourg).

Those who voted for the restrictions — put on the ballot by the right-leaning Peoples Party —deny racism or xenophobia in interviews and point instead to downward pressure on wages and overcrowding. Supporters of business lamented the looming inability to hire the best workers and experts from across Europe for successful companies like Nestle, Hoffmann-La Roche, Schindler Elevator and dozens of watch companies.

Switzerland is weak in one sense: the federal government is small and run by politicians who are little-known outside the country. But in another sense it is strong. A referendum is the expression of the nation-state and an example of direct democracy more potent than anywhere else on earth.

The result is significant for Switzerland and big for its neighbors. EU nationals — even in recession-hit Italy and relatively booming Germany — have looked for good jobs in the Alpine paradise. But most significantly, the Swiss have insisted on exercising sovereignty over their territory in an affirmation of self-determination that the EU has long wished to suppress.

Nigel Farage, leader of UK’s Independence Party, hailed the vote as “wonderful news for national sovereignty and freedom lovers throughout Europe,” saying it was “not a matter of race but of space.”

The result underlines the increasingly evident fact that Europe is in a turbulent time and that this political turbulence is likely to be prolonged. The EU has long pressed for its member nations to pass over the control of financial, economic and political levers to Brussels, and has more recently insisted that financial controls be centralized to cope efficiently with the euro crisis. But the groundswell of opinion against a centralized government with obscure workings that is administered by mostly unknown politicians is now felt in all states, including those thought to be impervious to anti-EU sentiment.

The referendum was designed to address the most neuralgic issue in Europe — the free movement of people within its borders. Europe has seen large-scale emigration from relatively poor east-central Europe to richer western and northern countries, as well as more desperate emigration from impoverished and war-torn states in Africa and the Middle East, much of this illegal.

More than any other issue, immigration drives a widening wedge between the political, business and intellectual elite in Europe and those in middle and working-class jobs who experience downward wage pressure and often live in areas unused to the social changes that immigration brings.

This discomfort has long been blamed on racism. But now thoughtful liberals are recognizing that something else is happening that is not so much a crisis of ethnic differences, but a crisis of the nation state.

The French political philosopher Pierre Manent is a central figure in the resurgence of the country’s liberal tradition. In a series of recent essays, he locates current turbulence in the widening gap between a nation state that is supposed to be consigned to the past and a European state that is proposed as the future. The European political class, he says, has assumed the responsibility of constructing a united Europe, but, in doing so, it has sought to discredit all opposition as reactionary.

“If this process continues — the financial crisis of the euro has put extraordinary pressure on it — we will soon leave behind the regime of representative government and return to one of speechless commandment,” he writes. “The commandment will no longer be that of the state, which at least occupied a place of a certain elevation, but that of regulations. We do not know the source of regulations — only that we must obey them.”

From an even more liberal quarter, Michael Ignatieff — former leader of the Canadian Liberal Party and now a scholar at Harvard –  writes that “to a degree we haven’t realized, our sovereignty has been emptied out and because it has, our democracy has been draining away. Sovereignty and democracy are linked. We must feel we are masters in our own house, if our politics is to have any meaning for us. Democracy is not a procedure, an instrument or a technique. It is a way of living a set of values of patriotism, equality and fairness, and it creates a sentiment: the blessed feeling that you live in a place where you are not adrift, you are not a prisoner of fate, where you join with citizens to shape your world.”

Swiss voters have acted on Ignatieff’s dictum that “sovereignty and democracy are linked.” In doing so — and in insisting that their small country has too many foreigners — they have linked democracy and sovereignty to oppose the prevailing orthodoxy. The consequences of this will roil Europe for years to come.

PHOTO: Swiss President and Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter (R) talks to Justice Minister Simonetta Sommaruga after a news conference in Bern February 9, 2014. REUTERS/THOMAS HODEL

50 comments

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this is way Scotland will become indipendent in September. NI and Wales will follow asap

Posted by phoen2011 | Report as abusive

This article by John Lloyd is one of the most insightful articles I’ve read in a long time.

In the USA, we have the same problem. Just like Switzerland, today in America, approximately 25% of the people living in America are immigrants. We have mass unemployment, and wages in every industry are going down, down, down. Like Switzerland, immigrants occupy housing in America on a large scale, causing rents and housing costs in America to skyrocket.

The American middle class is quickly being destroyed by mass immigration on an unprecedented scale. The H1B Visa program here has already destroyed much of the American engineering and tech-worker class by importing over a million engineers from India who will work for almost nothing.

I’ll quote from your article:
“This discomfort has long been blamed on racism. But now thoughtful liberals are recognizing that something else is happening that is not so much a crisis of ethnic differences, but a crisis of the nation state.”

Posted by AdamSmith | Report as abusive

The population of the world is exploding.

Every four and one-half days (4.5 days), the world population increases by 1 million people.

Where will they go?

Posted by AdamSmith | Report as abusive

John Lloyd,

WELL SAID!

I would not change a word of the opinions above posted by AdamSmith.

Posted by OneOfTheSheep | Report as abusive

Um, having a small fed gov does not make you “weak.” It makes the people strong, at the expense of the government. A definite positive.

And really, it is about race/ethnicity. Peoples differ, have different ways of doing things, and often don’t mix well. To say the least. Liberals have to be forced, kicking and screaming, to accept this. Libertarians, too, who regard group identities as “collectivism.” Well, they are collective in nature, and they exist.

If you think “diversity,” which is a value-neutral concept, is inherently a good thing, then the Swiss should impress you. The three nationalities comprising Switzerland pretty much run their own affairs, and preserve their regional identities. Vive la différence, right?

Posted by f00 | Report as abusive

It ain’t racism, it’s nationalism, morphing into xenophobia!! That’s all right then.

Posted by Urban_Guerilla | Report as abusive

its hard to agree with people who see immigration as the cause of their misery. The fact is? western countries willingly invade and create mayhem in poorer countries to steal their resources which results in internal and international displacement of huge segments of people desperate to save their lives and earn lively hood, nobody would like to I’ve outside their traditional societies and homes, in truth western world is no bed of roses with everyone is caught in hard cold way of life where most western people sell their souls for a little comfort and a few dollars. So let the western world curb their greed and stop useless un-winable wars if they don’t want immigrants from the so called third world and I guarantee the floods of immigration will stop. lets see if you have the integrity to publish this comment.

Posted by skyhighblue | Report as abusive

“The H1B Visa program here has already destroyed much of the American engineering and tech-worker class by importing over a million engineers from India who will work for almost nothing.”

HEAR! HEAR!

WTF! When did I wake up and realize I don’t live in MY country anymore but in a HOSTILE LAND more concerned with the profit of EVIL corporations?

Posted by Foxdrake_360 | Report as abusive

It isn’t just “evil corporations” that push for open borders, it’s evil ethnic interests that want to see majority white countries stop being that way.

“Xenophobia” is just a slur against the natural instinct of racial/ethnic self-preservation. It’s only bad when whites do it, apparently.

OTOH, xenophilia, the unquestioning embrace of the foreign and unassimilable, is what’s unnatural and pathological.

Posted by f00 | Report as abusive

Napoleon with his masses of Frenchmen invaded Russia in 1812, of course.

The Russian people, with all their might, resisted the Frenchmen, of course. Who wouldn’t?

But that means – according to the twisted logic of a poster to this thread – that the Russian citizens resisting the French invaders were XENOPHOBIC?

Napoleon’s army consisted of approximately 550,000 French people, and Russia’s population was 40 million. In other words, the French immigration was 1.3% of Russia’s population.

Yet today America has been invaded in much larger numbers. Today, 25% of the people living in the USA were not born here. Many of them are illegal.

It is an invasion, for purposes of gaining wealth, just as the French sought wealth in Russia.

Today the American middle class is being quickly destroyed by unprecedented mass immigration which is completely out of control.

I say congratulations to the Swiss people for standing up and defending themselves.

Posted by AdamSmith | Report as abusive

One can’t just talk about immigration by itself. There are immigrants, and there are immigrants.

A Russian or Pole can adapt fairly well to living in, say, France, whereas a Nigerian, Afghan, or Thai is much less likely to assimilate successfully.

A neighborhood, state, or country is the sum of the people that comprise it. The more whites in an area, the more it will resemble a white country. The more non-whites in an area, the more that area will resemble their native countries. They don’t have to intend for that to happen; but it will happen as surely as if obeying a law of nature.

Immigration to the US consists largely of mestizos from Latin America. A step up for them, certainly, from the struggling and corrupt states they leave behind, but a steep step down for the whites they settle among.

Posted by f00 | Report as abusive

Western Europe is almost as densely populated as China. And Switzerland is 50% more densely populated than that. And the entire region is plagued by high unemployment. The reason eludes economists because of their self-imposed ban on giving any consideration to the ramifications of population growth. The inverse relationship between population density and per capita consumption is at the heart of Europe’s woes.

Like all such densely populated societies, Europe is a land of apartment-dwellers who consume little beyond the basic necessities. They maintain a relatively high standard of living through manufacturing for export and by high levels of deficit spending. The emergence of China has muscled in on their export business and their debt levels have become unsustainable.

For Europe and the world as a whole, unemployment will worsen as labor forces continue to swell and as per capita consumption continues to decline as long as the population continues to grow. It is inescapable.

Pete Murphy
Author, “Five Short Blasts”

Posted by Pete_Murphy | Report as abusive

Overpopulation is the greatest threat to mankind, yet it has been pushed to the background for as long as I’ve been alive.
The drive for economic growth rather than the improvement in standard of living is ridiculously short sighted.
This stuff should be obvious to everyone, yet still some religions preach unfettered procreation.

Posted by RandomName2nd | Report as abusive

“We must feel we are masters in our own house, if our politics is to have any meaning for us. Democracy is not a procedure, an instrument or a technique. It is a way of living a set of values of patriotism, equality and fairness, and it creates a sentiment: the blessed feeling that you live in a place where you are not adrift, you are not a prisoner of fate, where you join with citizens to shape your world.”

Almost, but one can think of any number of instances where patriotism has conflicted with equality and fairness, both internally and externally, and whether democracy conflicts with them can depend on what we mean by “democracy,” and what a majority of the people feels like doing at any given time. Tweaking the EU to allow more local control might be better than returning to the 19th century.

Posted by DorjePismo | Report as abusive

In addition, China is ‘considering’ lifting the one-child policy, accelerating the global population explosion. No one addresses the fact that the world is evolving into more automation. Corporations do NOT want to hire people. If every company could operate with only a few people and return a profit, every single entity would. Not one politician addresses this unpleasant fact. Yet people continue to produce offspring…

Moreover, if there are not the jobs there once was, I applaud Switzerland for taking a stand on population controls within their boarders. There is plenty of open land in many countries. These low-level workers can go elsewhere to pillage a society of its goods, resources and entitlement resources without adding much back.

Posted by BarbieFunJet | Report as abusive

The US is full too, but the Muslim criminal in the WH is determined to destroy the country.

Posted by jwden | Report as abusive

I fail to understand why Switzerland’s citizens are deplored for acting in their nation’s interest. Unlike the United States of America, a country with immigrants at its heart, the Swiss are a unique people with a unique heritage acting in defense of their ideals. Eve in America there has always been concerns about the number and quality of immigrants, so this is not new territory for political discourse. Finally, with respect to Europe’s free movement of people, does it serve European interest for Africans and Middle Easterners to flood the country considering their vastly different traditions and multiple religions? I wonder because Turkey continues to be denied this status. Just curious how these questions are answered . . . please, without race baiting jingoism by haters.

Posted by jbeech | Report as abusive

Wow, a country with some backbone, bless you Swiss.

Can’t EVERYONE see what immigration has done to UK, France? MASSIVE slums filled with angry Muslims who block streets and hate the English and the French.

Posted by Factoidz | Report as abusive

Migrating to America legally is, and should be, a thorough procedure meant to protect the interests of American citizens. It involves more than simply jumping a fence and heading north in pursuit of free health care, education, food stamps, and other handouts paid for by broke U.S. citizens and a Bankrupt nation!

Legal immigration means enduring rigorous hurdles like background checks to detect a criminal background or possible ties to terrorists; medical examinations to detect diseases still prevalent in third-world nations, but long since eradicated here; proof of financial solvency so as to prevent newcomers from becoming a burden on U.S. taxpayers, and testing for knowledge of American history and English skills.

Those who have jumped a fence into America in order to avoid our immigration checks are not immigrants. Rather, they are invading criminals, with no claim whatsoever to the welcome mat extended to legal immigrants.

Such people do not deserve recognition, sanction or amnesty by the United States, and should be rounded up and deported as soon as possible, alone with the corrupt politicians that support this invasion.

In truth, illegal aliens have invaded our nation, leaving America vulnerable to undetected crime, terrorism, disease, and financial devastation at the hands of people with no legal or moral justification for being here.

Posted by BlackSaint | Report as abusive

Rational self-interest can look like xenophobia, but likewise xenophobia, shortsighted, irrational xenophobia, can easily disguise itself as ‘freedom’ or ‘patriotism’. Xenophobes, who are EXACTLY as lazily shortsighted as apologists for reprehensible cultures so long as those cultures are not ‘western’, love to piggyback onto any perceived victory for the ideals. There are no ideals to be had, however, in any place that wants to be famous for tax cheats AND nationalists.

Posted by ZJSimon | Report as abusive

Good for you Switzerland!

Posted by DMATTER | Report as abusive

I don’t live in Switzerland, so while I doubt this move will work out well for them in the long run given the friction it will cause in the EU, I’m not going to pretend my opinion on that carries much weight.

However, I take exception to commenter Adam Smith’s stupid and baseless interpretation of this articles’ relation to the United States immigration polices.

Adam Smith -

Your comment is hysterical and completely factually incorrect. You are either very ignorant or a deliberate liar. Here are some obvious examples of how factually ignorant you are:

“Just like Switzerland, today in America, approximately 25% of the people living in America are immigrants.”

WRONG. The “immigrant” population (people living in the US who were born in other countries) is about 40 million. That’s about 12% of the US population of 318 million. You’ve more than DOUBLED the factual number.

“We have mass unemployment, and wages in every industry are going down, down, down.”

WRONG. The current US unemployment rate is about 7.4 percent. While it would be nice if it got down to the ~5% the country has had in its healthiest economies, that’s well within the standard range the US has had since after the Great Depression of the 1920s (lows typically around 4%, highs around 9%) and the unemployment rate has DROPPED every year for the past 5 years.

“Like Switzerland, immigrants occupy housing in America on a large scale, causing rents and housing costs in America to skyrocket.”

WRONG. Here is the median rent in the US over the last century (in 2014 dollars, adjusted for inflation) with the % increase from previous decade:

2011 $895 (7.7%)
2000 $831 (5.6%)
1990 $787 (18.7%)
1980 $663 (15.9%)
1970 $572 (18.4%)
1960 $483 (36.1%)
1950 $355

Rent has increased every decade since 1950. The RATE that it has gone up from 2000 to 2011 (7.7%) is far LESS than the average rate of increase. More importantly, rents going up in this country do NOT represent overcrowding in anything but the most impacted of urban areas. Rents going up reflect increased property values, which are generally due to area improvement, infrastructure improvement, housing improvement, and increased investment. All of that is generally considered to be signs of a good and growing economy. Rents going down would indicate a failing country that people are fleeing (for a microcosm example, look at Detroit, Michigan).

“The H1B Visa program here has already destroyed much of the American engineering and tech-worker class by importing over a million engineers from India who will work for almost nothing.”

WRONG. The 2014 H1B Visa report indicates 382,767 current H1B holders in the country (you’ve almost TRIPLED the number), at an average salary of almost $82K per year. I don’t think most people would consider working for $82,000 per year as “nothing.”

“This discomfort has long been blamed on racism. But now thoughtful liberals are recognizing that something else is happening that is not so much a crisis of ethnic differences, but a crisis of the nation state.”

This opinion was being applied to Switzerland, a country with an almost 1000 year-old national identity, that some would argue is being diluted by the European Union, which has applied outside immigration regulations to their nation.

It has little relevance to the US, a nation with a 200 year-old national identity that was built by immigration and sets its own immigration policy with no outside influence.

It’s also relevant to mention that the “national identity” of Switzerland is a small, historically self-centered country with isolationist policies of almost unmatched proportion. They remain neutral in every war, refuse to defend their neighbors or democratic Western principles outside of their own country, and for most of their history refused to even work with the rest of the world in financial regulation. In terms of population, they have 8 million people in 15,940 square miles, a population density of 500 people per square mile.

The US, on the other hand, is a global superpower that has spent the last century trying to influence world politics towards democratic principle, building unified global financial policies and law, and spending unprecedented amounts of lives and money promoting and defending its sphere of influence and way of life. It has 318 million people in 380 million square miles, a population density of 1.2 people per square mile, or roughly 1/400th that of Switzerland.

The idea that our immigration policies and theirs should have any relationship is ludicrous to anyone with a basic knowledge of the facts, which you clearly do not.

The basic fact of the matter is that the US is a country with plenty of room to grow that has been built on immigration. Immigrants do not just take jobs, they also CREATE them. Our entire national history serves to illustrate that point. People, immigrants included, buy things and build businesses.

Posted by Loothor | Report as abusive

All social animals claim and defend territory against their own kind. Their survival depends on it, and so does ours. Importing “cheap labor” has the practical effect of diluting the infrastructure that prior generations paid for. It also converts the working middle class into the working poor through downward pressure on wages.

The part I don’t understand is how the “Party of Labor” in the US can get away with an open borders policy and not lose most of their political support.

Posted by MassResident | Report as abusive

Debunking the BS in this thread:

American immigrant population is currently 40 million out of 318 million… that’s 12% immigrants, nowhere near 25%.

There are 380K H1B visa holders in the US, nowhere near “1 million.” They make an average salary of $82,000 per year, clearly not an example of workers coming here “working for nothing” and putting highly-paid engineers out of work.

America’s population situation looks nothing like Switzerland’s… Switzerland has over 500 people per square mile, the US has 1.19 people per square mile. That’s about 1/400th the population density of Switzerland.

America’s rental cost growth rate has been about 7% over the last decade. That’s about 1/3rd the average growth rate of the previous 5 decades. Rent costs are not anywhere near “skyrocketing,” they’re actually growing quite slowly.

America’s immigration policy is not related to “nationalism” in anywhere near the same way Switzerland’s is. Switzerland has, by a very slight majority, rebelled against an immigration policy that was dictated by the EU, an entity outside their own government. American immigration policy is set by American government only.

America does not have “mass unemployment.” The October 2014 unemployment rate was 5.8%, which is barely above the national average for the last 50 years. Unemployment has DROPPED every year for the past 5 years.

American wages in every industry are NOT “going down, down down.” The mean hourly wage in the US for all occupations in 2013 was $22.33, in 2004 it was $18.09.

You know nothing when you form opinions without facts.

Posted by Loothor | Report as abusive

The French philosopher Pierre Manent hit the nail on the head and it fits what has happened in the U.S. also.

If liberals are not willing to realize their excesses. then nationalist interests are preparing to apply “persuasion” that will not be pleasant.

Posted by calebtaursus | Report as abusive

What surprises me is that Switzerland is the one to clamp down on immigration and be held up as the paradigm of the nation-state. Switzerland is not so much a nation-state as it is a diverse mulch-cultural community united by abundance of chocolate and cheese.

Posted by Sewblon | Report as abusive

What surprises me is that Switzerland is the one to clamp down on immigration and be held up as the paradigm of the nation-state. Switzerland is not so much a nation-state as it is a diverse multi-cultural community united by abundance of chocolate and cheese.

Posted by Sewblon | Report as abusive

Many companies, farmers, households in USA or Western Europe look for cheaper workforce to maintain their business. Immigrants are competing succesfully with the locals. They accept much lower payments, and generally are inclined to do much harder work. On the other hand millions of jobless local people are wandering around. They do it, because they generally don’t accept jobs or payments who immigrants accept. Stopping or restricting immigrant workforce will cause many of these jobless to find a job. Either the local workers will accept lower salaries, or those who need workers should pay higher wages for local workforce. Finally, that will fundamentally change the economic conditions and profitability of the companies, and may cause a significant contraction of the economy, but eventually will lead to a reasonable solution and fair competition for jobs. Those, who are jobless will accept the lower payed and bad jobs, and those in need of workforce will have to pay more than they do to the immigrants. As to the perception that immigrants drain riches and rely on benefits, that’s a complete nonsense. They contribute to the economy of the host nation much more than they receive ever.

Posted by Levko | Report as abusive

Manent is blaming the EU for the national immigration policies of France, while the other cases cited in this article, Canada and Switzerland, are not members of the EU at all.

This article is tendentious junk.

Posted by LeifLeifnephew | Report as abusive

I usually don’t support right-wing agendas, but I don’t see how this is xenophobia. Why is it different to limit how many people may enter a country than to decide how many people may enter your home. People have the right to protect the space in which they live, right? You’d go nuts if someone tried to tell you that you had to allow an outsider to move into your guest room. It would be different if they said “No Turks”, or “No Asians”. But they’re saying “NO ONE”. Seems to me that it’s their right.

Posted by ricksca | Report as abusive

I usually don’t support right-wing agendas, but I don’t see how this is xenophobia. Why is it different to limit how many people may enter a country than to decide how many people may enter your home. People have the right to protect the space in which they live, right? You’d go nuts if someone tried to tell you that you had to allow an outsider to move into your guest room. It would be different if they said “No Turks”, or “No Asians”. But they’re saying “NO ONE”. Seems to me that it’s their right.

Posted by ricksca | Report as abusive

For the very “smart ” person commenting about USA immigrants being responsible for the “evil”, I would suggest to get rid of a Republican wanting to make abortion legal. YES WORLD, THIS IS FRONT PAGE IN USA IN 21ST CENTURY!

Posted by valci | Report as abusive

Swiss authorities proclaimed the same expression “we’re full” when Germany was hunting down its Jew population who streamed to Swiss border in 1930s and early 1940s. They said “Der Schiff ist voll” – the boat is full.

Posted by Govornik | Report as abusive

Lucky people. In the US, we have a King that couldn’t care less what Americans want. He just stumbles along issuing Unconstitutional proclamations. For some bizarre reason, he can’t get illegal aliens into the country fast enough to suit him.

Posted by JakobStagg | Report as abusive

Its not long before the EU starts down the same path. EU nations with more open immigration is making it difficult for other EU nations to respect the EU internal immigration policy. Many nations feel they’re stretched to their economic limit in accepting more immigrants.

Posted by DrDuude | Report as abusive

Population growth dynamics in a decade from now will determine country’s sustenance based on its effectiveness in population control to effectively ward-off encroachments on its resources than any other factor. It’ll help to protect borders and develop and enforce policies and capabilities to ward-off such encroachments.

Dream-act needs be limited to a dream as it’ll instantly enable millions more become dependent on social welfare system that’ll weaken the already-weak middle class, further more.

Posted by Mott | Report as abusive

it is time for all to realize the only solution to ‘emigration’ is for people to take charge in their own countries, overrule the despots and corrupted officials who are soaking the poor and siphoning off the billions enterprises are investing to gain access their natural resouces, establish a fair system of rule, create professional security operatives who have allegiance to the state rather than persons, and then business, education, justice will follow and people can begin to enjoy the place where they live and there will be no temptation to move away.

Posted by grasspress | Report as abusive

Supporters of business lamented the looming inability to hire the best workers and experts from across Europe for successful companies like Nestle, Hoffmann-La Roche, Schindler Elevator and dozens of watch companies.
————-A friend of mine, an American, worked for a global non profit in Geneva. She sure didn’t expect Swiss citizenship. If these companies want to hire the “best” workers, then let them do so, but without Swiss citizenship as part of the package.

Posted by Alitoo | Report as abusive

Well written article indeed ..
And wow ..! , what a big words from Scholar at Harvard Michael Ignatieff …“to a degree we haven’t realized, our sovereignty has been emptied out and because it has, our democracy has been draining away. Sovereignty and democracy are linked. We must feel we are masters in our own house, if our politics is to have any meaning for us. Democracy is not a procedure, an instrument or a technique. It is a way of living a set of values of patriotism, equality and fairness, and it creates a sentiment: the blessed feeling that you live in a place where you are not adrift, you are not a prisoner of fate, where you join with citizens to shape your world.”
So than , what does it mean for the recent 2014 Mid-Term Election in United States just more than couple of weeks ago – Only % 36.4 eligible voters voted at the “Democratic process” – 72 year low- of the Republic …? for their representatives in US Congress and the Senate .. Does the rest of the –non-participant % 63.6 majority of Americans feel –their sovereignty has been emptied out – since democracy and democratic process seems – “drained away” obviously looking at the dismal –turn out of eligible voters- …
Republicans would surely “claim power ” more than actually they should have by taking “Only” slightly over 1/2 of % 36.4 –which means barely above the % 18.2 of all eligible voters ..!

Posted by metingun2 | Report as abusive

“The population of the world is exploding.
Every four and one-half days (4.5 days), the world population increases by 1 million people.
Where will they go?”

Simple. Over the unsecured borders of the United States for the already overburdened taxpayers to support.

Posted by Jobama | Report as abusive

They try to paint American anti-immigrant people as “racist”. Do you think Americans would be complaining if the immigrants were skilled, intelligent, and well bred individuals? We are importing poverty stricken LOSERS from Socialist nations such as Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala etc. These are the cast-offs those nations are more than happy to be rid of. We can handle nice, well brought up, DECENT immigrants. Please- no more “workers” or moneyless beggars who use up our tax dollars. Ask anyone who has 30% of their paycheck stolen by force to be handed over for FREE to complete human trash who just shows up here with their hand out. I am sick and tired of seeing these schlubs with their ugly barrel shaped bodies and small brains wander in, with at least 3 ape-children in tow with their mouths agape staring up at me in the grocery store line as they pay for a full cart of crappy food with their EBT card. Sighs.

Posted by Flifla23 | Report as abusive

the swiss have it exactly correct,comrade Obama are you listening,f–k off we are full ,close the damn border

Posted by comradestalin | Report as abusive

No – it is not hard to see how immigration on this level kills a nation. The values are diluted, the monetary system cannot support it, and the direction and culture of the nation are compromised. It is not racism and there should be no hatred of immigrants, but there needs to be a recognition of the effects on the country. We are no longer the empty expanse of 250 years ago and the prose attached to the statue of liberty no longer apply: Give me your tired, your hungry, your poor. We already have quite enough of them…..

Posted by Subwavelength | Report as abusive

Great article but stated here in the comments by Adam Smith, a blatent mistruth that immigration is the cause of Americas middle class decline. Indian engineers dont enter the US to get these jobs, they are outsourced by US corporations and work through the net. Nice attempt to place the blame on immigration but global corporate expansion is the reason. Three free trade agreements engineered by W and signed by Obumble. The democratic/republican screwing of the US citizenry is the most outrageous threesome of all time. I agree that immigration is putting pressures on our economy but they pale in camparison to what The Fed and the US Military are doing to it. Central bankers are by far the biggest reason for the coming global economic collapse and corporations by extension…. are doing the dirty work.

Posted by Moebubby | Report as abusive

Wow! This guy John Lloyd is amazing. What a great journalist at a time when too many so-called journalist the have lost touch with the craft. My take on this whole issue is how immigration seems to benefit the uber wealthy much more than anyone else… and such, it is out of the control of the average citizen. Then comes Switzerland whose citizens have a powerful voice and we see how a healthy democracy can halt the destruction put on the middle and lower classes by the uber wealthy and their immigrant class.

Look at it this way and you will easily see that halting uncontrolled immigration is not racism, it is protecting the backbone of any successful society…thats the middle class. The uber wealthy dont want a powerful middle class. They want the poor chipping at the heals of the middle class as to distract and thus control. The way to do this is to import poor immigrants to compete for resources and the opportunity that the average citizen once took for granted would be there for them.. Switzerland is so ahead politically to say enough is enough.. we are full!

Posted by trajan2 | Report as abusive

as usual, perception trumps reality.
the percentage of immigrants in the USA, is barley 13 percent.
and thats a generous figure.
many feel that immigrants are taking over the country, but try and get sympathy from a native american, with that whine.

Posted by canoeman | Report as abusive

This is smart. Not sure if voters did this to stop others from taking jobs, or because they want to screen people who come in because too many people from certain backgrounds have a greater likelihood of causing trouble. They should be able to set it up for businesses to hire qualified people.

Posted by chris87654 | Report as abusive

To AdamSmith… it’s not the immigrants that are causing rents to skyrocket – it’s people with jobs (like in San Francisco) combined with the lingering masses who lost their homes to foreclosure which have increase the number who want/have to rent (basic supply and demand). If you’ve saved your money while living at your mom’s house, you can put money down and still buy a house fairly cheap in many areas.

Immigrants do cause other problems (my problem is we shouldn’t have waste money translating everything into 16 languages to accommodate these people), but increased rents is not one of them. Many immigrant families have 5-10 people living in one house to afford the rent – they are NOT like those Americans who think they should be able to afford their own apartment or buy a house with some entry level job like flipping burgers at McD’s.

Posted by chris87654 | Report as abusive

Factoidz sez:
“Can’t EVERYONE see what immigration has done to UK, France? MASSIVE slums filled with angry Muslims who block streets and hate the English and the French.”

We got the same problem in Ferguson, MO though the ‘names’ are different.

Posted by chris87654 | Report as abusive

The reduction of immigration is necessary to save the earth.
At least since the 1960′s it was apparent that increasing population would doom our world to a polluted mess. The development of effective birth control eased our fears, as the developed world stabilized population growth and assumed that by introducing medicine and development to the third world that the trend would continue.
Unfortunately, population control became a politically incorrect issue in the developed world and modern medicine and economic development only caused huge increases in population growth in the second and third world. Capitalism’s need for growth spurred the political acceptance of increased immigration and further muffled the discussion of the need to control the world’s population.
Immigration to western economies subsidizes the continued population explosion in the second and third worlds by release of pressure and the export of money.
It doesn’t mean a thing for us to try to be “green” by reducing pollution and carbon emissions if we keep increasing the number of people creating the pollution.

Posted by HiramWalker | Report as abusive