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Switzerland

Are Immigrants Bad For The Environment?

A controversial new initiative launched by a Swiss population control organization suggests that immigration – already blamed for the country’s crime, unemployment and even traffic – is also damaging for the environment.

A file photo of a Brussels rally in support of immigrant rights (Guy Leboutte)
A file photo of a Brussels rally in support of immigrant rights (Guy Leboutte)
Juliet Fall

Foreigners in Switzerland have already been identified as a primary cause of rising crime, increased housing costs, the growing rate of unemployment, and even urban traffic congestion. Now they are being held collectively responsible for the ecological crisis. Switzerland's Population and Ecology Association (ECOPOP) has just launched a federal referendum aimed at establishing a link between the environment and immigration. Intent on stabilizing the Swiss population, the association believes that limits on immigration can help reduce environmental degradation.

While environmental policies are increasingly thought of as global issues — most notably within the context of climate negotiations — the ECOPOP initiative considers environment to be a local matter for the State to handle, through both a comprehensive birth-control policy and tougher border controls. ECOPOP calls specifically for Switzerland to limit immigration, disclaim international treaties that impede such measures, and designate 10% of international cooperation funding to support family planning abroad.

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