Our VoiceImmigration

Sustainability: Thinking Beyond Borders Part Four

Katie Bezrouch • Dec 19, 2008

The immigration debate in the US has no relevance to the environmental issues that we are facing today. However, hate groups like Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) and Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) would like U.S. citizens to believe otherwise.

The anti-immigrant movement’s argument that immigrants are to blame for U.S. ecological degradation is deeply flawed. It has so many holes that it is transparent to anyone who thinks critically about the accusations they present. This is a strategic attack on immigrants, and cannot result in any productive environmental solutions. It only breeds more anti-immigrant hatred and leads Americans astray from real environmental progress.

Californians for Population Stabilization says on its website:

“Experts agree that the most dangerous problem facing our environment now and in the future—whether local, national, or global—is human overpopulation.”

“Because of rampant population growth, we’re also experiencing degradation of our ground water; pollution of our lakes, rivers and streams; destruction of forests, national parks, and natural habitats; wildfires and forest fires—often caused by migrating illegal immigrants…”

The truth is it doesn’t matter if a person is living in the United States or another country, wherever they are people are contributing to stresses on the environment. It’s ridiculous that anyone would buy into this being relevant to one’s locality. It’s a shockingly weak foundation on which to build their anti-immigrant agenda.

Both FAIR and CAPS often try to make it seem like environmentalists everywhere are siding with them. FAIR even has a page on their website called “Why Environmentalists Support Immigration Reform”, but they can’t name nor quote a legitimate environmentalist that actually does voice support for their policies.

In reality, there is more opposition to anti-immigrant groups than agreement by environmentalists. The Sierra Club, the most influential grassroots environmental organization in the United States, has decisively banished anti-immigrant rhetoric, stating:

“The Sierra Club, its entities, and those speaking in its name will take no position on immigration levels or on policies governing immigration into the United States. The Club remains committed to environmental rights and protections for all within our borders, without discrimination based on immigration status.”

For those seeking to fuel immigrant scapegoating FAIR offers an “environmentalist” perspective, but provides no meaningful information for legitimate discourse on the environment.

Genuine concern for the planet and the life on it should inspire exploration of viable solutions. Real environmentalists are working beyond borders.

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