Our VoiceImmigration

Sustaining White America: Population, Environment, and Immigration


Rev. David L. Ostendorf • Jul 01, 2009

Ever since John Tanton launched FAIR three decades ago, the anti-immigrant movement has distorted population growth and its environmental impacts to advance specious arguments that supposedly validate their restrictionist agenda.

The Center for Immigration Studies’ (CIS) latest report touting “The Environmental Argument for Reducing Immigration to the United States” marks another step in the movement’s ongoing attempts to tattoo environmental degradation on the backs of the wrong people.

The anti-immigrant movement was deeply rooted in the population control movement of the 1960s/70s—a movement that often wavered between its racially-tinged, eugenics-espousing fringes and its full-bore blame placed on overly-consumptive “Americans” (i.e. whites) for the environmental crisis of that era. Today the movement has resolutely staked its claim on those old, racially-tinged edges in what is a disingenuous move to lure environmentalists into its fold. By doing so, it has completely abandoned assigning any responsibility for the contemporary environmental crisis on a still-wealthy nation that consumes some forty percent of the world’s resources, regardless of immigration levels.

That FAIR and its allies would lay blame for urban sprawl, water shortages, and a host of other problems on immigrants is utterly ludicrous—as if struggling, low-wage immigrant workers have purchased all those high-cost suburban homes on the nation’s relentlessly expanding metro edges, or generated the tons of waste that both characterize and accompany a super-consumer society.

Behind this facade of blame lies the crux of the Tanton Network’s real concern: that whites will soon be a minority among minority populations “in their own country.”

The extremes of this concern are posted in publications like the Citizens Informer—the newspaper of the white nationalist Council of Conservative Citizens (CofCC). In a recent letter on “Global Warming and White Birthrate Decline,” a reader postulated that “White Americans are committing suicide by not replacing themselves while importing highly fertile aliens whose goal is to improve their standard of living by consuming and polluting.”

Birthrates in developed (predominantly white) nations worldwide are, indeed, continuing to drop dramatically. Concurrently, the number of the ageing is rising—by mid-century those over 60 will comprise 22% of the world’s population, double the current rate. This is what FAIR and the anti-immigrant movement doesn’t want to talk about—the fact that a reduced, ageing white population in the US is going to be compelled to share resources and power with a growing, younger population of immigrants of color.

In a nation where the primary population growth is among immigrants, it is clear that FAIR and CIS share a singular goal with their renewed joint efforts to link environmental degradation to population.

While disregarding the environmentally destructive consumption patterns of white America, the environment/population problem is, in their view—”immigration.” The only solution—”stop it.” Were they truthful, their (white nationalist) argument would be much simpler: “Keep America Beautiful = Keep America White.”

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