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Singapore To U.S.—Don’t Let Immigrants Vote!

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D. Ray

Feb 12, 2024, 9:39:49 PMFeb 12
First World societies are not the only ones experiencing nation-breaking
immigrant inflows. Many countries, whether deliberately or because of mass
illegal immigration, have undergone profound changes that have serious
implications for their politics. One of the most notable examples: the
British-created, Chinese-majority island Republic of Singapore. Singapore’s
reaction: don’t let immigrants (or their children) vote!

Singapore, born out of a dispute with ethnic Malay-dominated Malaysia, of
which it was a part prior to 1965, has a great deal of resident foreigners
who were invited in to propel its economic growth and industrial

The population of Singapore, composed of some 5.9 million people as of June
2023, has a non-citizen population of 2.3 million people representing 40%
of the Republic’s overall total These non-citizens, comprising roughly 1.7
million “residents” and 538,000 “permanent residents” do not have the right
to vote, change state policy, or participate with the Singaporean political
system in any meaningful way.

This is a fine balance: Voting-age Singaporean citizens represent only 2.7
million individuals, just 400,000 less people than the entire non-citizen

For comparison to a Western country: the best example would be Switzerland.
The Swiss sport a foreign-born population of some 30.7% representing
roughly 2.7 million people. Only a small portion of this foreign-born
population has been naturalized. The total non-citizen population comprises
2.2 million individuals representing 25.7% of the population.

Both these countries also maintain similarly stringent naturalization laws
for their immigrant populations, laws deliberately designed to keep these
populations away from the levers of state power.

Thus the Swiss require that a foreigner have lived in the country for a
period of ten years. The Singaporeans require that foreign permanent
residents have lived in their country for 10 of the 12 years preceding a
citizenship application.

While both countries maintain stringent general requirements, they do
reduce requirements for the spouses of their own citizens—although,
interestingly, Singapore only grants spousal naturalization to foreign-born
wives, not foreign-born husbands.

Crucially, neither Republic allows Birthright Citizenship [Swiss government
rejects automatic citizenship for those born in Switzerland, Le News, June
17, 2022].

This means there is a significant population of native-born non-citizens.
Neither Republic cares.

These stringent systems of naturalization contrast dramatically with the
American system, which grants permanent residency in a number of months
(often issued by courts or bureaucratic tribunal) and then citizenship a
mere 5 years later. The American system admits new citizens, and therefore
political participants, in less than half the time which it takes the
Singaporean system and does so with far fewer requirements.

And, crucially, the America system allows Birthright Citizenship, by which
the children of non-citizen immigrants (even if illegal) are automatically
citizens—ending which is the “Internal Wall” against demographic

The U.S. is also catching up to the Singaporeans in the share of the
foreign-born population. The Census Bureau projects that by 2100 the
foreign-born population of the U.S. will be 24.4%, the highest ever
recorded. This is likely an underestimate as the Census Bureau continually
understates both population growth and the foreign-born population of the
U.S. in non-census years.

Singapore and the U.S. are also similar when it comes to the population
that resides in the country vs. the population which votes in the country.
While Singapore is just shy of parity between its voting citizenry and its
foreign resident population, several U.S. states already sport a massive
divergence between residents and voters. California is just 35% White, but
the state’s electorate is wildly divergent: Whites comprise 55% of its
voters as of 2020, while Hispanics, representing 39% of the state’s
population, represented only 21%.

Minority special interest groups in the U.S. whine that the American
electorate is increasingly non-reflective of the county’s
immigration-driven demography [The Changing Face of America’s Electorate:
Political Implications of Shifting Demographics, by Patrick Oakford,
American Progress, January 6, 2015]. And Legacy Americans increasingly
realize that demographic change will affect elections.

Similarly, Singaporeans worry that the massive foreign population will have
a negative effect on their influence over their own polity. They have
consistently protested and voted against the government’s various
“population plans” which would see the foreign population of the nation
continue to increase over time, thereby reducing Singaporeans to an
absolute minority in their own state [Singaporeans protest plans to
increase immigration, by Liz Nesloss, CNN, February 16, 2013).

But these protests brought about a raft of policy changes which saw the
Singaporean state alter the immigration process, and the nature of those
who get admitted to the country, in the mid-2010s [Singapore Immigration
and Changing Public Policies, Association for Asian Studies, Winter 2017].

Because of these changes, the racial and demographic mix of Singapore has
held steadily for the past 13 years, effectively reducing worries that the
Singaporean population would be swamped.

Similar anti-immigration and anti-demographic change movements have been
taking place in other countries, such as the aforementioned Switzerland,
covered in this piece by the prolific John Derbyshire.

Of course, an electorate that does not correspond to the whole of the
population can pose unique challenges, especially when it comes to the
provision of goods and services for the large non-citizen populations.

But this divergence can also provide ample additional time to reduce
immigrant inflows, change nationality laws to prevent more naturalizations
and, crucially, to reverse Great Replacement migration.


James Karlsson (email him) is the founder and director of the White-Papers
Policy Institute. Read them on Substack, follow them on Twitter, and
message them on Telegram.


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