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Swiss Government Considers Population Cap Amid Immigration Spike

Chris Agee
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As the United States continues to experience a historic rise in the rate of illegal immigration, many European nations are being inundated by a statistically higher number of undocumented migrants. 

The ongoing issue has fueled efforts across much of the continent to bolster border security and enact other measures aimed at drastically reducing the number of migrants illegally entering various countries.

For its part, Switzerland is poised to conduct a referendum that, if successful, would require the nation to limit its population to no more than 10 million by mid-century. Proponents of the measure were able to exceed the requisite 100,000 signatures within 18 months in order to advance the referendum, ultimately securing 114,600 endorsements over the course of just nine months. 


The Swiss People’s Party, a populist political organization, spearheaded the effort, which is now expected to be put up for a nationwide vote that could result in the implementation of much stricter border control efforts. 

As written, the referendum calling for “sustainable demographic development” includes a clause whereby the nation would be required to take steps such as suspending residence permits for migrants when the permanent population of the country reaches 9.5 million. The ramifications of such a policy could also result in Switzerland’s withdrawal from existing European Union treaties.

Marco Chiesa, the leader of the Swiss People’s Party, touted the referendum as a method of protecting “direct democracy and the next generations” of his country, asserting that he was “proud and honored” to be on the frontlines of this cultural battle.

The party offered an overview of the proposal, explaining in a social media post that it “serves to preserve our values: independence, direct democracy, sovereignty, and freedom” while giving local governments across Switzerland the tools with which to guarantee “the safety, services, and well-being of all of us.”

Thomas Aeschi, another leader of the political party, noted that Switzerland recently passed the 9 million population milestone, explaining that nearly 100,000 immigrants entered the country last year alone — not including more than 30,000 asylum-seekers.

As a direct result of the ongoing trend, the party concluded, Switzerland has been forced to reckon with “housing shortages and rising rents, traffic jams on the roads, crowded trains and buses, falling standards of schools, increasing violence and crime, electricity shortages, income stagnating per capita, ever-higher health insurance premiums, indebted social services, and increased pressure on the beauty of the landscape and the preservation of nature.”