Health & Environment

CAPS doesn’t deserve to be defended


Lindsay Schubiner • Jun 16, 2015
Source: Flickr
Source: Flickr

Yesterday, the Star-Ledger (Newark) posted the Center for New Community’s response to their columnist Paul Mulshine’s defense of Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS). CAPS is an anti-immigrant organization that uses environmentalism to mask its bigotry.

Mulshine claims that CAPS is right to blame all manner of problems on immigration-fueled population growth, from California’s drought to its traffic jams. He writes:

“Those of us in CAPS understand that none of those problems can be solved with the growth of people,” he said. “Every increment of new people cancels out the efficiency improvements the people living here are asked to make.”

That’s certainly true of the drought now turning the Golden State brown. If California doesn’t have enough water for its current population, how will it accommodate millions more residents?

And it’s also true when it comes to another issue currently in the news in California, the issuance of driver’s license to undocumented aliens. Half a million signed up immediately and another million are expected to do so in the next few years.

But we don’t think scapegoating will solve our environmental woes or our traffic jams. In fact, rather than causing these problems, immigrants are often disproportionately impacted by climate change and by poor transportation infrastructure.

Here’s how we responded:

In his June 9 column, Paul Mulshine not only unreasonably scapegoats immigrants for California’s drought and traffic jams, he relies on a discredited nativist organization to do so. Mulshine is right that mainstream environmentalists do not accept the group, Californians for Population Stabilization, but he is wrong about the reason.

CAPS is marginalized by the environmental movement because its true focus is stoking anti-immigrant sentiment and advocating against immigration. CAPS has accepted funding from the Pioneer Fund, a foundation that has invested in proving the genetic superiority of white people and promoting eugenics. CAPS also shares leadership with—and has taken funding from—a notoriously anti-immigrant network founded by white nationalist John Tanton. Tanton is on record advocating for a “European-American majority” in the U.S.

Mulshine claims that liberals have been cowed into ignoring the environmental impacts of population growth because they don’t want to be called racists. In reality, scientists have long since discarded population growth as an explanation for California’s drought (and a host of other concerns) in favor of hard evidence.

CAPS scapegoats people of color, ignores scientific evidence and operates with the financial support of eugenicists and white nationalists. It doesn’t deserve to be defended.

Lindsay Schubiner is senior program manager at the Center for New Community.

Photo credit: Jody Roberts, via Flickr. Licensed under Creative Commons. Photo has been cropped.

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