Immigration policies: Arizona, the US and Switzerland

Just a few days ago, I was walking in Central in Zurich with my husband.  We saw two policemen pull up a couple of men passing by. One was on a bicycle and the other was walking by. One was young, and the other old. One was relatively well-dressed and looked educated. The other looked to be from a lower income family. The only thing the two had in common were their general looks. Dark hair and an olive-coloured complexion, probably from a Turkish or middle-eastern background.

My husband and I talked about it. We had seen it happen a couple of times before, even once to my husband. However, as soon as he replied back to the police in Swiss-German, they apologized and backed off.

That did not happen in this case, where the police continued to interrogate the two men. They wanted to identify illegal immigrants, and they had the right to question anyone they considered to fit the profile.

I told my husband how things are so different in the US. There is more humanity there. Immigration is the problem of the USCIS. It is not the problem of the police, or homeless shelters, or hospitals.

In Switzerland, anyone who found out or suspected that an individual was an illegal immigrant, would call up the government and report it. Homeless illegal immigrants would not be fed by soup kitchens. They would spend their time in jail until they were deported. Illegals who are sick would not be treated at the hospital. They would probably be deported as soon as their status was discovered by the doctor.

In the US, however, the police realize that their first duty is to stop crime, and to investigate those that have already happened. They cannot do that when a large number of people in the district are scared of them. The policeman knows that his primary duty is to help the people depending on their protection.

Similarly, the American doctor strives to fulfill the Hippocratic oath. He has to treat his patient and make him well again, not add to the patient’s problems by reporting him as an illegal alien. The same goes for the church, or soup kitchen that strives to feed the nation’s hungry. Their primary goal is to help, not hinder.

The best part of the United States is the ideals the people and the government strive to uphold. Above everything else, humanity is the defining ideal of the US. Much more than the over-quoted “Freedom.” No matter what wars have been fought all over the world that have alienated the US from the other countries. Humanity is the one thing that remains.

With the new immigration law in Arizona, the US stands to lose this humanity.

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This entry was published on April 25, 2010 at 7:47 pm. It’s filed under Arizona, Immigration, Switzerland and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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