How politics trumps environmentalism in border wall debate

Article author: 
Dale Wilcox
Article publisher: 
The Hill
Article date: 
26 April 2017
Article category: 
National News
Article Body: 

he anti-borders lobby recently found yet another angle to challenge the president’s campaign promises on immigration enforcement.

The Center for Biological Diversity, an environmental group, along with Rep. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.), this month sued Homeland Security for “failing” to calculate the environmental impacts of the proposed border wall. 

For immigration-control advocates, the move drips with irony. 

Human beings are agents of pollution. 

Especially Americans. 

We consume one-fifth of the world’s oil, but are only 5 percent of its population. It’s estimated that when your average immigrant settles here, their carbon footprint jumps by a multiple of four.

Once upon a time, environmental groups understood the connection between immigration-induced population growth and things like urban sprawl, declining water tables, etc. For instance, bellwether of the environmental movement the Sierra Club believed up until the mid-nineties that “immigration to the U.S. should be no greater than that which will permit achievement of population stabilization in the U.S.”...

Now, not only has the issue been completely dropped by all major environmental establishment groups, when activists even attempt to raise the issue for debate, they’re shunned, banned, or even accused of “greenwashing” Nazism.

The real reason for the about-face, however, had to do more with politics than any newfound globally-minded ideal. 

According to Roy Beck and Leon Kolankiewicz, two environmentalists for immigration-control, by the mid-nineties, self-appointed Hispanic leaders as well as California Democrats began threatening groups like the Sierra Club if they didn’t drop their position — The logic apparently being that all Hispanics are immigration-expansionists who’d refuse to support environmentally-friendly laws in reaction to the Sierra Club’s immigration position...

An early sign of environmentalists’ surrender came in 1971 (just one year after the first Earth Day) with the creation of the Rockefeller Commission, a blue-ribbon panel set up by President Nixon to study the impact of population growth on the environment.

At the hearings, one Hispanic activist took issue with the very premise of the Commission, stating “...what we must do is to encourage large Mexican American families so that we will eventually be so numerous that the system will either respond or it will be overwhelmed.”

In other words, more of “us” equals more power. Environment be damned...

But for those environmentalists who actually live and work on the border, the impacts of not having a fence are apparently well-understood.

Through a Freedom of Information Act request, my organization, the Immigration Reform Law Institute, obtained internal memoranda from federal land management agencies showing officials praising the very kind of fencing CBD’s now challenging.

According to documents from US Fish & Wildlife, “smuggling and interdiction activities have resulted in significant impacts to wilderness character” but fencing has “reduc[ed] the number of vehicles illegally entering the U.S.” The National Park Service agrees. The existing border fence, they state, has reduced vehicle traffic within national parks by 95 percent and has generally been “critical” for the agency’s conservation work...


CAIRCO Research

Since 1996, leaders of the Sierra Club have refused to admit that immigration driven, rapid U.S. population growth causes massive environmental problems. And they have refused to acknowledge the need to reduce U.S. immigration levels in order to stabilize the U.S. population and protect our natural resources. Their refusal to do what common sense says is best for the environment was a mystery for nearly a decade.

Then, on Oct. 27, 2004, the Los Angeles Times revealed the answer: David Gelbaum, a super rich donor, had demanded this position from the Sierra Club in return for huge donations! Kenneth Weiss, author of the LA Times article that broke the story, quoted what David Gelbaum said to Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope:

"I did tell Carl Pope in 1994 or 1995 that if they ever came out anti-immigration, they would never get a dollar from me."

In 1996 and again in 1998, the Club's leaders proved their loyalty to Gelbaum's position on immigration, first by enacting a policy of neutrality on immigration and then by aggressively opposing a referendum to overturn that policy. In 2000 and 2001, Gelbaum rewarded the Club with total donations to the Sierra Club Foundation exceeding $100 million. In 2004 and 2005, the Club's top leaders and management showed their gratitude for the donations by stifling dissent and vehemently opposing member efforts to enact an immigration reduction policy.

Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on United States Immigration Policy - Read the Final Environmental Impact Statement Documents