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Switzerland: Immigration And Crime

Posted by Viktoria Michaelis on February 15, 2016 in News & Opinion |

There are two sides to every story, whether it be that told by a refugee who has struggled across foreign lands to get to a new home, or that of those who live in the country he or she has sought out and fears for their future. There are two sides to fear too: the fear of what could happen to the country as a whole, to jobs, to culture, to the neighborhood, and the fear of how we may react when faced with the new citizens. There is no fear, as far as I can tell, of what it would be like if we, living in our safe and stable lands of the West, were to be faced with the same decisions, the same terrorism, the same fear for our lives and those of our families.

While some countries are daunted by the prospect of taking in refugees, of even accepting that there is a need for their country to act, others are looking on the more practical side: is it possible; can we handle the influx; who deserves to stay. All European countries are faced with these problems, whether they are all facing up to them at the moment or not.

Switzerland's Black Sheep

Screenshot Source: Bloomberg Business / Twitter

Switzerland is one of those democratic countries which allows its citizens to take a more active role in political decision-making. There are regular referendums, and the popular vote is called out for many major legislative papers throughout the year. That the refugee crisis should be one of them makes complete sense: that Switzerland should be following up on its recent legislation to limit the number of European foreigners in the country with a similar law for refugees makes sense too.

The fact that a right-wing political party has brought the action to the fore and is asking the voters to strengthen the legal right of Switzerland to deport criminals makes no difference. It could just as easily been an extreme left-wing party, the social democrats or anyone else. Crime, law and order know no party political barriers; everything should be proposed and decided for the good of the people and the country, and not for a political party, as is prevalent in the United States. This article on Bloomberg Business goes into some detail on the highly unusual proposal by the SVP.

From a politically correct point of view, and this is the one most parties, organizations and public individuals will take, the legislation is wrong. Sending someone back to their former home, no matter what the situation in that country may be, no matter what the chances are of them surviving, is considered to be against a person’s Human Rights. What, though, of the Rights of those effected by a criminal assault, such as the incidents in Cologne? What, as the article mentions, about the families of people murdered?

From a personal point of view, the legislation would make sense. Anyone committing a crime should be punished according to the severity of that crime, whether they are an immigrant or a citizen. Anyone wishing to become a citizen, wishing to remain in a certain country and live their life there, should be prepared to conform with that way of life, within certain bounds, and integrate. Committing crimes against those who have given you a home, who have taken you in and given you a chance, is hardly integration.

On a different level: when someone steals from the company which employs them, they can be fired and put out on the street. Is this not the same? Can a country which takes in a person not have the right to ‘fire’ them if they steal from that country, break its laws or similar?

  • Viktoria Michaelis.

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