Other Immigration Issues Here and Elsewhere

From SWI, Swiss news: Switzerland’s House of Representatives has rejected an initiative by the right-wing Swiss “People’s Party” to limit immigration and cancel a deal with the European Union on the free movement of people.

Albert Rösti, head of the Swiss People’s Party warns that “uncontrolled” immigration could increase the current 8.5 million Swiss population to ten million and place additional pressure on infrastructure and the environment. It also says free movement of people encourages employers to recruit foreigners at cheap rates rather than Swiss people.

Sound familiar?

Per SwissInfo.ch , Switzerland faces a “shortage of workers 10 years out according to the Swiss Employers’ Association which warned Switzerland could face a shortage of 700,000 workers in ten years’ time.  Immigration is a key to plug the gap.”

To help close the potential gap, professionals possessing engineering backgrounds will be needed with a priority on civil and electronic engineering being the most important. Also technical skills in such fields as heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning have moved up from third to second place in needed skills followed by fiduciaries, auditors, and IT ability. These types of capabilities and skills are not possessed by present day migrants coming to Switzerland.

And there is no thought given to the training and education of new migrants. A shrinking population (Swiss birth rate per couple is 1.54 and is not an adequate replacement rate)  and a need for more workers is not a new story. Here is a clip from 2006:

“Demographers admit they are not so good at anticipating change. At the height of the ‘population explosion’ hysteria four decades ago, few believed birthrates could fall so far and so fast that the population of a major country like Russia would actually start to shrink (as it did about 14 years ago). Germany’s tipping point seems to have arrived in 2002, and Japan’s in 2005.

The total global population has not yet finished increasing. But nearly half the world’s population lives in countries where the native-born are not reproducing fast enough to replace themselves. This is true in Western Europe, Eastern Europe, Russia, Japan, Canada and the United States. It is also true in much of East Asia, pockets of Latin America and such Indian megacities as New Delhi, Mumbai (Bombay), Kolkata (Calcutta) and Chennai (Madras). Even China is reproducing at levels falling short of replacement.”

This snippet of information is from a 2006 article in Smithsonian by Joel Garreau “300 Million and Counting.”

We hear the same today in the US of employers not finding qualified employees. Much of this is due to lower birth rates and a shrinking population as older cohorts retire and also die off. The result being the US facing similar issues in having replacement population, workers, and workers with technical skills. US birth rate fell to 1.728 in 2019 as compared to 2.01 in 2006 as noted in “300 Million and Counting.”

And yes, the US has an even more derogatory view of immigrants arriving as voiced by a US president. Indeed, even if one had the engineering skills needed in the US, why would they come to a hostile US where they may be chastised for physical appearance? As far as room for more people, the US does not lack for land in which new inhabitants could live, neither does it lack for funding to train workers, to retrain present citizens, or to relieve their debt from training as well and that of many of today’s former students so they can be more productive, contribute to the economy, and start families to sustain population at a replacement numeric. The issue is other than resources.

Alan Collinge of Student Loan Justice commented on Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow’s snide remark on Student Loan Debt delinquency, saying “maybe they (students) will  learn a fiscal responsibility?” Betsy DeVos has doubled-down on loan issues involving for-profit and non-profit schools by removing  the clause that any education in a trade must lead to a job (she removed the clause stating it had to lead to a job and claimed it unfairly targeted for-profit schools! Huh? Then there is the “I-did-it and you-have-to-do-it” too crowd. They conveniently forget education was heavily funded when they went and not as expensive for them or their parents. In the midst of all of this are several generations held down by debt and/or a lack of education.

Which brings me back to my point on immigrants also, we need a younger and well educated citizenry. We should be attracting more immigrants, training them so as to be productive (if need be) to make a good income, and pay taxes. As far as students, unchain them by alleviating the debt of which much of it are delinquency penalties.  Many of them are already educated. And we  not burden new immigrants with the same debt burden.

As fellow AB writer Eric notes, it is all in the aggressive racial appeals of a president who has shown Republicans the nature of such appeals can work in playing to a white America to “trigger latent fears which allow the Republicans to maintain power by emphasizing reactionary positions on race and immigration.”