I saw an article last week titled “Why Environmentalists Support Immigration Reform” on the Federation for American Immigration Reform’s (FAIR) website. Considering myself an environmentalist, I read the passage to better my understanding of exactly why “I” support immigration reform.
Now of course, as some of you may have already guessed, I was a bit skeptical of the entire notion, but I tried to keep an open mind. When doing a “preliminary skim” of the article, I noticed a rather interesting statement: “But however one may try to abdicate responsibility for it, the connection between immigration, population, and the environment remains.’ I was rather confused, thinking, ‘Well, I can see a connection between immigration and national population, and I can see a link between global population and environmental issues…” But I somehow couldn’t link those two thoughts. How are they connected?
It turns out, they only have one major point:”Stabilizing population means a demographic “steady-state” where, over time, the population of the country does not rise.” And that, “[b]ecause immigration is the driving force behind current population growth in the U.S., limiting immigration is the key to slowing population growth, stabilizing our population, and protecting the environment.”
There seems to be a lot of phrases thrown around here, which I personally had some issues with: “stabilizing population”, “immigration is the driving force behind current population growth” and “protecting the environment.” Citations please!
So let’s start with my favorite one first: “immigration is the driving force behind current population growth.” Is it? Foreign born peoples (documented and undocumented) make up only 9.5% of the entire population in the United States (about half of what it was in early 1900s), while 16% in Canada and 22% in Australia. Let’s look at these nation’s population growth rates: United States 0.894%, Canada 0.869%, and Australia: 0.824%. Hmm… I don’t see any sort of correlation there do you? It almost looks like we would have a better population growth rate if we let more immigrants in…(I’m being facetious).
I also had some trouble understanding how stabilizing the population only in the United States would protect the environment. I mean, if someone is in Mexico instead of Texas, are they protecting the environment? I know, right? I’m so dumb for not getting that. Then I thought maybe I wasn’t so dense, and maybe FAIR was being a bit disingenuous. I’ll let you be the final judge of that, but here’s an interesting factoid: in the same article, FAIR states, “the Sierra Club noted that ‘for almost fifteen years, the Sierra Club has acknowledged that population growth is the cause of all environmental problems.’” Interestingly, the Sierra Club has also made public statements such as “closing America’s borders does nothing to lower the number of people consuming the planet’s resources.” I don’t know, maybe I’m just not getting the point.
For more information on how immigrants are poisoning the environment, you can refer to FAIR’s website. I, on the other hand, will be spending the next few weeks exploring a slightly different, though painfully related issue: the impact that the United States has on not only the global environment but also the local ecosystems of the very same nations that provide us with the majority of our immigrants.