Three U.S. National Commissions Calling for Immigration Reductions and U.S. Population Stabilization

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By Stuart Hurlbert

August 14, 2017
Emeritus professor of biology at San Diego State University, Fellow of AAAS, and president of Scientists and Environmentalists for Population Stabilization. Contact: hurlbert@mail.sdsu.edu.
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US Population Stabilization
“Democracy doesn’t work well without good information,” R.J. Samuelson said in his critique of how the media and Congress conspired to hide from the public how massively the 2006 comprehensive immigration expansion bill (SB2611) would have increased legal immigration into the U.S. That bill was passed by the Senate 62 to 36. At the time the Senate apparently was operating under that notorious adage, “We have to pass it before we can know what’s in it.” Fortunately, the House refused to consider the legislation.
 
Censorship and information suppression of a different sort is more ongoing. Proposals, legislative or otherwise, for large reductions in legal immigration are routinely met with howls of derision and castigated by the major newspapers, as well as the “open borders” left, as “anti-American,” “anti-immigrant, “extremist,” “nativist,” “racist,” “not in keeping with our values,” “economy-killers,” “inhumane,” “elitist,” and you name it. What biased journalists studiously avoid telling the American people, is that large reductions in legal immigration are precisely what various broad-based U.S. national commissions have been recommending for years. Below are given verbatim key recommendations of three of those commissions.
 
Population and the American Future

The Report of the Commission on Population Growth
and the American Future, John D. Rockefeller III, chairman, 1972
 
From the letter of transmittal to President Nixon and the Congress of the United States, March 27, 1972:
 
After two years of concentrated effort, we have concluded that, in the long run, no substantial benefits will result from further growth of the Nation’s population, rather that the gradual stabilization of our population through voluntary means would contribute significantly to the Nation’s ability to solve its problems. We have looked for, and have not found, any convincing economic argument for continued population growth. The health of our country does not depend on it, nor does the vitality of business or the welfare of the average person.
 
Key recommendations in the report:

Population Stabilization
Recognizing that our population cannot grow indefinitely, and appreciating the advantages of moving toward the stabilization of population, the Commission recommends that the nation welcome and plan for a stabilized population.
 
Immigration
The Commission recommends that immigration levels not be increased [above 400,000 per year] and that immigration policy be reviewed periodically to reflect demographic conditions and considerations. To implement this policy, the Commission recommends that Congress require the Bureau of the Census, in coordination with the Immigration and Naturalization Service, to report biennially to the Congress on the impact of immigration on the nation’s demographic situation.
 
Legal Immigration: Setting Priorities

Report from the U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform, Rep. Barbara Jordan, chairman, 1995
 
Enforcement of Immigration Limits. An effectively regulated immigration policy establishes limits on the number of immigrants that are consistent with the goals of the various categories under which immigrants enter. Moreover, these limits must be enforceable and enforced. We underscore our commitment to curtailing illegal immigration as embodied in our 1994 recommendations. …
 
Enforcement of Sponsor Responsibility. A properly regulated immigration policy will hold sponsors accountable for keeping immigrants from becoming burdens on the American taxpayer and enforce that accountability through legally binding obligations. …
 
Protection of U.S. Workers. A properly regulated system will also provide protection to American workers against unfair competition arising from immigrant categories that are designed to enhance U.S. economic strength. A higher level of job protection should be made available to the most vulnerable in our society.
 
RECOMMENDATIONS
The Commission supports a tripartite immigration policy that permits the entry of nuclear family members, professional and skilled workers, and refugees and other humanitarian admissions. In addition, the Commission urges Congress to take steps to address the continued aftereffects of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act [IRCA] that provided legal status to formerly illegal aliens.
 
The Commission proposes a core immigration admissions level of 550,000 per year, to be divided as follows:
  • Nuclear family immigration 400,000;
  • Skill-based immigration 100,000;
  • Refugee resettlement 50,000.
The Commission further recommends that Congress authorize 150,000 visas annually for the admission of the spouses and minor children of legal permanent residents who have been awaiting entry until such time as this backlog is eliminated. The Commission recommends that admission levels be authorized by Congress for a specified time period (e.g., three to five years) in order to ensure regular periodic review and, if needed, change by Congress. These recommendations represent fundamental reform of U.S. immigration policy.
 
Sustainable America: A New Consensus for the Prosperity, Opportunity and a Healthy Environment for the Future

Report of the President’s Council on Sustainable Development. Ray Anderson & Jonathan Lash, Co-chairmen, February 1996
 
[H]uman impact on the environment is a function of both population and consumption patterns. It is possible for more people to have a smaller impact but only if -- through changes in lifestyle or technological progress -- each person uses fewer resources and produces less waste. Even if technological progress reduces the rate at which the United States uses resources and generates waste on a per capita basis, population growth will make the objective of sustainable development more difficult. …
 
There is nothing inherently wrong with a population -- even a large one -- meeting its material needs by consuming resources and creating wastes. Problems arise when the numbers of people and the scale, composition, and pattern of their consumption and waste generation combine to have negative effects on the environment, the economy, and society. …
 
Managing population growth, resources, and wastes is essential to ensuring that the total impact of these factors is within the bounds of sustainability. Stabilizing the population without changing consumption and waste production patterns would not be enough, but it would make an immensely challenging task more manageable. In the United States, each is necessary; neither alone is sufficient. …
 
Sustainable development explicitly recognizes the obligation of the current generation to future generations. Taking this obligation seriously means examining the difficult issues and hearing divergent views to make informed decisions about what best serves the interests of America. As recognized at the International Conference on Population and Development in Cairo in 1994, all nations have responsibility for managing population growth. The United States must provide leadership by setting an example. …
 
Finally, while the Council encourages realization of its goals and recommendations throughout America, it wants to make clear that it seeks to move toward voluntary population stabilization at the national level [this would require moving toward fewer than 300,000 immigrants per year – S.H.], recognizing that the population of any state or region will ebb and flow according to the choices of individuals and families about where to live and work.
 
 
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