Immigrant is the new black

Article published on Feb. 18, 2014
Article published on Feb. 18, 2014

This article has not been vetted by an editor at Paris HQ

Switzer­land in­tro­duced the quo­tas for im­mi­grants, U.S. im­mi­gra­tion re­form ended up in the trash and the U.K. im­mi­gra­tion min­is­ter has re­signed after re­veal­ing that he has em­ployed il­le­gal house cleaner. Im­mi­gra­tion has be­come a sub­ject of po­lit­i­cal bick­er­ing, but the fig­ure of an il­le­gal im­mi­grant sym­bol­izes a lack of understanding of modern globalized world.

Would Switzer­land qual­ify for the World Cup if they got rid of im­mi­grants? This photo, that went viral on Twit­ter, shows that na­tive Swiss are less than half of the first squad of their foot­ball na­tional team. Their biggest stars are Gökhan Inler, who is Turk­ish ori­gin, and  Xher­dan Shaqiri, who was born in Yu­goslavia to Al­ban­ian par­ents. But if the World Cup in Brazil goes wrong they will prob­a­bly take the whole blame, as hap­pened with the French team after they were knocked out in group stage in South Africa in 2010. French pub­lic opin­ion then have won­dered if play­ers like Nico­las Anelka, Samir Nasri, Karim Ben­zema or Hatem Ben Arfa are French enough. Sur­pris­ingly, no one ques­tioned the French­ness of Zine­d­ina Zi­dane, Youri Djorka­eff or Lil­ian Thu­ram when won the World Cup in 1998.  Human mem­ory can be short and se­lec­tive.

But the num­ber of for­eign born player will prob­a­bly drop in Switzer­land na­tional team thanks to the newly in­tro­duced laws. The peo­ple de­cided in the ref­er­en­dum that they want to limit the in­flux of im­mi­grants from the Eu­ro­pean Union by in­tro­duc­ing strict quo­tas. The EU of­fi­cials are pissed be­cause Switzer­land is bound by trade and labour agree­ments with them. The re­sult of the ref­er­en­dum is a great suc­cess of The Swiss Peo­ple’s Party (SVP), which pre­vi­ously was made fa­mous by such ini­tia­tives as ban burqas and the con­struc­tion of minarets.

The United States of im­mi­grants

In his State of the Union from last year, Pres­i­dent Barack Obama promised to work on im­mi­gra­tion re­form. This year that topic dis­ap­peared from the agenda. The re­form does not have a chance to go through the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives where the Re­pub­li­cans are in charge. In the No­vem­ber elec­tion to Con­gress the case will not be an issue, be­cause over 60% of House GOP mem­bers rep­re­sent con­gres­sional dis­tricts where Lati­nos rep­re­sent a small per­cent­age of the pop­u­la­tion. And the aim of the Re­pub­li­cans is to de­prive the Lati­nos their vot­ing rights, be­cause they, in the vast ma­jor­ity, are going to vote for the De­moc­rats.

Im­mi­gra­tion is not the prob­lem to the U.S. elite. Rapid eco­nomic growth has oc­curred when Amer­i­can tech­ni­cal thought and mass pro­duc­tion went hand in hand with slav­ery and il­le­gal im­mi­gra­tion. In­dus­trial de­vel­op­ment, which caused that at the turn of the 19th and 20th cen­tury the United States has be­come the most pow­er­ful econ­omy in the world, was the re­sult of un­lim­ited im­mi­gra­tion, mainly from Ire­land and South­ern and East­ern Eu­rope. 

Lampe­dusa - a sym­bol of eu­ro­pean fail­ure

It is ben­e­fi­cial for the en­tire Eu­ro­pean Union when im­mi­grants are il­le­gal, be­cause then they are eas­ier to con­trol and they are cheaper. This con­clu­sion comes from the book "A Sud di Lampe­dusa" ("South of Lampe­dusa") by Ital­ian jour­nal­ist Ste­fano Lib­erti. A large part of the Ital­ian econ­omy, such as agri­cul­ture, is based on il­le­gal im­mi­grants and the phe­nom­e­non of slav­ery ex­ists even in such "civ­i­lized" places like Lon­don.

We can­not stop im­mi­gra­tion. Build­ing a fortress in the Mediter­ranean Sea will not scare them away, but only in­crease the dan­ger in the re­gion. Im­mi­grants and refugees are often ed­u­cated, but de­feat of the Eu­ro­pean sys­tem is that we force them to exist on the mar­gins of so­ci­ety. And the old Eu­rope needs young blood. 

In con­tem­po­rary world, where the rev­o­lu­tion is in­spired by the so­cial media and the Arab Spring leads to the Oc­cupy Wall Street move­ment, peo­ple will travel and com­mu­ni­cate with each other. This is the re­al­ity in which we live in and nos­tal­gia for the old un­com­pli­cated world will not change any­thing. The issue of im­mi­gra­tion more and more often be­comes the mat­ter of po­lit­i­cal wran­gling and not the sub­ject of po­ten­tial laws. And the prob­lem is still there even if we are not look­ing at it.