Swiss Economist: Amnesty Not the Solution

Wednesday, 14 Aug 2013 09:22 AM

By Audrey Hudson

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Werner Neff, a Swiss banker who retired near the ski slopes of Aspen, Colo. spending his days at musical festivals and writing about his life experiences, has a noteworthy take on the immigration battle consuming Capitol Hill lawmakers:

Amnesty no; Green Cards, yes.

The Green Card is how the economist made his way into the U.S. 13 years ago and he is now sharing his experience of adapting to American life in his new book "The United States — An Old Fashioned Country?"

Neff says he's surprised that Democrat and many Republican lawmakers believe that reforming the immigration system should begin with amnesty for 11 million non-citizens who either came to, or remain in the country illegally.

"Why don’t you find a step in between that they have a Green Card for probably another five or 10 years and then can change to become citizens?" Neff said in an interview with Newsmax.

"If you're here illegally, you will be happy to have a Green Card and can be working here, having Social Security, having a healthcare system. So a Green Card would be a solution in between," Neff said.

Even though Neff went through the lengthy and often expensive process of immigrating legally to the U.S., he says he does not take umbrage with the legislative proposal.

"If the American Congress is really granting the citizenship immediately, I don't care, that's fine with me," Neff said.

"I just see that there are many obstacles to reach this stage and that many are concerned about the change from illegal to citizenship and I personally see a Green Card as a possible solution in between," Neff said.

As for the struggling U.S. economy and climbing federally-owed debt, Neff's advice mirrors that of most Republicans in Congress.

"For a long-term perspective, of course, you cannot spend more than your income is," Neff said.

"That is in a family level, in a business level, and for a government level, true. So sooner or later you have to have a budget with less spending and more income," Neff said.

Comparing the political system of Switzerland, which is ruled by numerous parties and the U.S. where only two parties dominate, Neff says that compromise is the key.

"I'm convinced that the United States will in a near future solve all the problems which are now really actual issues," Neff said.

"So old fashioned, it is one of the only countries who has not really a social lawmaking system that enables people really to live in a decent life. I think they can change it, but I have the impression that it is not completed so far and quite a lot of work has to be done," Neff said.

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