Conservatives: Immigration’s Bad for the Environment

By Jamilah King Mar 11, 2010

As the immigration reform debate heats up on Capitol Hill, right wing opponents are uping the ante with sensationalist and factually inaccurate claims. The latest? Immigration increases the country’s ecological footprint. This latest claim came as part of a new report released by Progressives for Immigration Reform (PFIR), an alleged front group for uber conservative Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR):

Mass immigration is increasing America’s Ecological Footprint (EF), pushing our country deeper into ecological deficit. Approaching 310 million, U.S. population currently exceeds the carrying capacity of our land and resource base. Nevertheless, high immigration levels exacerbate these trends by pushing our population to ever more precarious heights, preventing U.S. population stabilization, forcing annual growth rates to more than three million net new residents, and driving our numbers to a projected 440 million by 2050.

Read the rest. They’re wrong, of course. As Walter Ewing points out, there’s no one-to-one relationship between population size and pollution. In fact, newly arrived immigrants are probably among the most ecologically friendly folks around. They’re more likely to use public transportation and less likely to waste food. But consider this the latest round in green xenophobia.