GENEVA, Sept. 24 -- Swiss voters ratified new asylum and immigration laws Sunday that make it more difficult for refugees to receive assistance and effectively block non-European unskilled workers from entering the country.
More than 67 percent voted in favor of the stricter asylum rules, originally approved by the Swiss government in December. The proposal was overwhelmingly accepted in all of Switzerland's 26 cantons, according to results released by the federal government.
The Republican groundswell of demand for tougher immigration policies and immigration cut-back is not an isolated phenomenon. Immigration restriction is on the rise in Europe and multiculturalism is looking pretty discredited.
When Spain's justice minister Juan Fernando Lopez Aguilar recently asked the European Union for money to pay the costs of Spain's immigration amnesty and weak immigration law enforcement Europe's other states roundly critised Spain for allowing the problem to develop.
However, he got short shrift from Germany, Austria and the Netherlands who criticised both the request for money and a decision by Madrid in 2005 to legalise the status of around 600,000 illegal immigrants already in Spain.
"Those who want to solve problems must stop asking for the money of others," German interior minister Wolfgang Schauble is quoted as saying in German newspapers.
Austria's Karin Gastinger said "It's no solution to legalize people, as was done by Spain, because it gives some kind of pull factor to the people in Africa, as we unfortunately saw in the last months," she said. "It sends the wrong signal."
She was backed up by the Dutch Rita Verdonk saying "the traffickers, the smugglers, see very well what is happening: they won't miss an opportunity to send illegal immigrants."
Rita Verdonk has much more sense than George W. Bush or Ted Kennedy.
Denmark has now drifted to the right - as has neighbouring Sweden, which last week booted out its Social Democrat government. The chill hand of pragmatism has even arrived in Christiania, the Danish capital's hippy commune, as the government announced last week it intended to charge the hairy denizens rent.
At the moment the assimilationists - who insist immigrants should become more Danish - are in the ascendant. The government is considering Danish language tests for foreigners applying for a passport. If anything, the cartoon row has forced Europeans to reconsider what it is that makes them European.
"It provoked a debate here in Denmark about what are we really and what is our identity," Hans-Henrik Holm, a professor of international relations at Denmark's College of Journalism at Aarhus University said. "A lot of Danes know more today about Islam and religion. We have to wake up to the fact that we don't live in a Hans Christian Andersen quiet provincial country any more."
The Danes would be better off if they paid all their Muslim residents to leave.
STOCKHOLM, Sweden A small anti-immigration party doubled its support in Sweden's elections and won dozens of seats on local councils but failed to break the 4 percent barrier to enter Parliament, official results showed Wednesday.
The rise of the far-right Sweden Democrats has raised concerns that the anti-immigration tide seen in much of Europe has spilled over into Sweden, where about 12 percent of residents are foreign-born.
Muslims have become a big enough problem in many European countries that the nature of the threat they pose is undeniable.
The prime minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, has pledged to devote more resources to shoring up the European Union's southern frontier, reported daily newspaper Politiken.
Taking up the fight against illegal immigrants, the Cabinet resolved on 23 April to boost the capacity of the foreign police and double the cells at deportation centres to about 3,000.
Rental contracts can be dissolved if inquiries indicate that landlords have rented homes out to illegal immigrants. In the case of illegal subletting, the official tenant might also lose his or her home.
Employers will be threatened with stiffer fines if they employ illegal workers. The average fine of EUR 980 will be increased to EUR 3,500 per illegal worker.
More raids will thus be carried out and employers will also be forced to pay retrospective social security premiums and taxes if the illegal immigrant has worked there for six months. That bill could reportedly amount to EUR 6,000.
The US Senate's 80-19 vote for a dual fence barrier on the US-Mexico border is in step with a larger trend in Western countries: Keep out the non-Western lower classes and keep out the Muslims.
|Share |||By Randall Parker at 2006 September 30 12:24 PM Immigration Politics|