Somebody Buys the Environmentalist Case Against Immigration

Leon's picture

By Leon Kolankiewicz

Leon is an Advisory Board Member and Senior Writing Fellow with CAPS. A wildlife biologist, and environmental scientist and planner, Leon is the author of Where Salmon Come to Die: An Autumn on Alaska's Raincoast, the essay “Overpopulation versus Biodiversity” in Environment and Society: A Reader and was a contributing writer to Life on the Brink: Environmentalists Confront Overpopulation.

In a career that spans three decades, three countries and more than 30 states, Leon has managed environmental impact statements for many federal agencies on projects ranging from dams and reservoirs to coal-fired power plants, power lines, flood control projects, road expansions, management of Civil War battlefields, NASA's Kennedy Space Center operations and a proposed uranium mine on a national forest. He also has worked with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop comprehensive conservation plans at more than 40 national wildlife refuges from the Caribbean to Alaska.

The writer's views are his own.

December 10, 2014
Staff writer Joshua Keating of the liberal online magazine Slate recently blogged that: “Nobody Buys the Environmentalist Case Against Immigration.”

In one sense, Keating is onto something. The liberal politicians who supposedly care about the environment apparently don’t care enough to oppose the endless, mass-immigration-driven U.S. population growth that is trashing the American environment.

And stopping population growth and its ruinous environmental impacts is not what galvanizes the conservative politicians who do actively oppose mass immigration and amnesty for illegal immigrants.

Thus, neither liberals nor conservatives swallow the environmental arguments against mass immigration that exasperated environmentalists like me have been making for decades…but the really terrible thing is that neither do big, politically potent environmental groups, a.k.a. the Environmental Establishment.

NumbersUSA founder and executive director Roy Beck and I have written extensively about why this is the case – about why American environmentalists abandoned the U.S. population stabilization cause, which at the time of the first Earth Day in 1970 was central to how the environmental movement grasped the dilemma of environmental degradation.

Basically, as immigration came to dominate U.S. population growth, high-minded environmentalists distanced themselves from the issue. They wanted no part of the emotionally fraught debate over immigration, and they didn’t like being called names like racist, xenophobe and nativist. So they acquiesced meekly and irresponsibly to the perpetual population growth guaranteed by mass immigration without end.
Which brings us back to Keating, whose beat for Slate is international affairs. He should stick to familiar territory, because anyone who cites the ludicrous hate group the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), like Keating does, as a reputable source on the immigration-environment issue shows their own bias or ignorance right off the bat.

But that’s what Keating did, so he has regurgitated the usual rancid swill from the SPLC about “green nativism” and “anti-immigrant” groups. According to this pernicious and false narrative, what really motivates organizations like CAPS is an ignoble hatred of foreigners, not protecting the American environment from rampant resource and land-consuming population growth or protecting jobs for American workers at a time of persistent high unemployment.

Keating wrongly accuses CAPS of blaming California’s water shortage on illegal immigrants. And he commits another fallacy when he writes that controlling immigration to protect the environment:

… makes less sense in the era of climate change. People will contribute to global warming wherever they are…

In fact, the average immigrant to the United States emits four times the amount of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere as he or she would have had they remained in their country of origin. Thus, mass immigration does exacerbate global warming.

No, Mr. Keating, just to make sure you grasp this distinction that seems such a difficult one for serial smearers, I am not saying immigrants cause global warming (like comedian Stephen Colbert once accused me of saying), but I am saying that mass immigration does aggravate it.

A final note – back in April 2014, upon the release of its study on sprawl, Vanishing Open Spaces, NumbersUSA commissioned a survey by Pulse Opinion Research of 1,000 likely voters for their attitudes on population growth and sprawl. One of those questions is relevant to this discussion

Census data show that since 1972, the size of American families has been at replacement-level. But annual immigration has tripled and is now the cause of nearly all long-term population growth. Does the government need to reduce immigration to slow down population growth, keep immigration the same and allow the population to double this century, or increase immigration to more than double the population?

68% - Reduce immigration to slow down population growth
18% - Keep immigration the same and allow population to double
  4% - Increase immigration to more than double the population
10% - Not sure

So it would appear that the American people have not failed to grasp what immigration-fueled population growth means for our environment. It is the Elite Establishment that has failed – the immigration-boosting billionaires like Gates, Zuckerberg, Bloomberg and Soros; Big Labor; Big Business; the Environmental Establishment; and our joke of an objective news media with its slanted reporting on the topic – to whose sullied ranks Joshua Keating belongs

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