Environment and the consequences of immigration-driven population growth

Carrying capacity is number of a given species that can be sustained indefinitely in a given bioregion. Although we would like to claim immunity from the laws of nature, humanity is not immune from the laws of carrying capacity. This will become all too clear over the next few decades as we draw down the remaining petroleum reserves across the planet.

The overarching environmental equation states that environmental impact is a function of population numbers and the per-capita consumption. The United States has the world's highest per-capita consumption. Unfortunately, unlike other developed nations, our population is projected to double within the lifetimes of children born today, as a result of unsustainably high immigration numbers. If we are to adhere to principles of intergenerational justice - to provide future generations with a sustainable environment - both population numbers and consumption must be addressed. For more in-depth discussion and references, see CAIRCO's Population and immigration concerns.

Here is a formal Environmental Impact Statement on United States Immigration Policy. Because immigration has a large impact on the overall size of the U.S. population, and because population numbers can be an important factor in determining a variety of environmental impacts, federal immigration policy would seem to be a likely subject for review under the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA).

For an in-depth analysis of the impact of immigration-driven population growth, see the article Immigration, Population Growth, and the Environment, by Leon Kolankiewicz, Center for Immigration Studies, April 2015.

For an excellent perspective on the population/environment issue, we highly recommend the article The Numbers Game - Confronting Growth and the Environment, by Jim Motavalli, E/The Environmental Magazine, January/February 2004. Excerpts follow:

There’s a minefield in the American environmental movement, and its name is population. Because negotiating that minefield is so dangerous, many environmental groups and leaders have stopped trying to cross it. But to ignore population as a central issue while talking freely about sprawl, air and water pollution, loss of biodiversity, agricultural land and animal habitat, global warming and many other crucial environmental issues is to deny reality.
 
Without a doubt, high consumption rates and rapid population growth work together to degrade the environment, and both need to be addressed globally. Unfortunately, however, reducing consumption is very difficult to achieve on a national basis, and international momentum is toward emulating high American levels of it, not modeling Third World frugality. ... The overall news is not good.
 
It’s unambiguously true that population growth is a global problem needing global solutions, but these are in woefully short supply. Groups such as Population Connection (formerly Zero Population Growth) speak vaguely about solving global poverty to ease emigration pressures but are short on specifics. Although we definitely do need global solutions, the late Garrett Hardin pointed out that population policy is actually set on the national level, and it is therefore at the whim of localized cultural and religious norms.
 
Americans must address the full consequences of high immigration numbers in the U.S. As Lester Brown of Earth Policy Institute has argued, high emigration may offer countries a “safety valve,” allowing them to continue with high fertility rates. This situation can reverse itself, as in Ireland, where historically high fertility and record high emigration have been replaced with below-replacement level fertility and immigration surpassing emigration.
 
It’s one of the most polarizing issues of our time, so it’s not surprising that population discussions usually end in shouting matches. But if we don’t soon get a handle on this critical issue it may be too late, for the planet and for ourselves.

Read the complete article.