the Dots: Population/Immigration/Environment
Exclusive commentary by Frosty Wooldridge and Lesley
What is the current U.S.
population? (About 297 million.)
How does the U.S. rank among
nations in its population? (Third! The U.S. has more people
than any nation but China or India.)
How many people did the U.S.
population add in the 1990’s? (Over 30 million.)
How many people does the
U.S. population add every year? (Over three million.)
What is the overwhelming
cause of U.S. population growth? (Immigration and births to
immigrants—over 90% of our post-1990 population growth is driven by
If current immigration
levels continue, what will the U.S. population be in 2050? 2100?
(Over 400 million in 2050, closing in on a billion in 2100-- with no end
How many Americans want
unending population growth? (Unknown—there’s been no public debate
on the issue.)
cliché is true: demography is destiny. The U.S. loves to preach
at the Third World to slow its population growth. The media constantly
laments that the world’s human population has surpassed the 6 billion mark.
But there’s deafening silence when it comes to the fact that the U.S. has
the developed world’s fastest growing population. You think the
traffic is bad now: just wait another 20 years.
Apparently, the official U.S. position is that population growth outside the
U.S. is bad and must be slowed, but population growth within the U.S. is
good or, at the very least, unstoppable. But it wasn’t supposed to
turn out like this. How did this hypocritical position arise?
anybody remember the “population bomb” of the early 1970’s? Back then,
when the U.S. had a hundred million less souls to worry about, a national
consensus. emerged that unending U.S. population growth is harmful to the
nation. In response to this consensus, Congress passed the National
Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”), a law that is still on the books.
fertility rate voluntarily reached replacement levels (2 kids per family) in
the late 1970’s. Americans decided we didn’t want to end up like
Bangladesh. The U.S. population growth would have stabilized if we had
stayed on course.
the 80’s all that ended with immigration. Millions of legal immigrants
annually combined with unknown numbers of illegal immigrants have ignited an
unending U.S. population juggernaut. Add to that the fact that
immigrants have more kids than Americans. The truth is that we are
becoming the new poster child for over-population, taking our place beside
China and India.
NEPA, every federal agency must consider and review the probable impacts of
its rules, policies and actions on the “human environment” before it
commits to a particular course of action. That way the government can
make an informed decision. The “human environment” includes not only
the physical environment (air, water, endangered species and land) but also
socio-economic conditions, cultural conditions, the built-environment, and
demand for resources, jobs and services.
Immigration is our de facto population policy. Immigration creates
lots of impacts at the local, state and federal levels. These impacts
range from national security, to demand for social services like schools,
health care, food stamps, hospitals, police, prisons, housing to demand for
jobs, income levels, sprawl, traffic, land use, energy, water, environmental
quality, etc. It also covers that precious thing you know when you see
it: quality of life.
NEPA, the federal government should have been reviewing all these
immigration related impacts over the past 35 years. Then, the federal
government and U.S. citizens would have had a better idea of the costs and
benefits resulting from open borders. Policies and allocation of
resources would have been more informed. There would have been genuine
debate and discussion. Instead, NEPA has been completely ignored.
The federal government turned a blind eye to the multiple impacts of
immigration. No NEPA reviews have ever been conducted relating to
immigration law, rules and policies. It’s yet another case of failing
to connect the dots.
who care about the fate of the U.S. need to demand that the federal
government get its head out of the sand and produce honest reviews of the
impacts of immigration driven population growth. NEPA was enacted 35
years ago for exactly this reason. Americans like to pride ourselves
upon being a nation of laws, but when it comes to immigration, it doesn’t
seem that the law means anything.
Lesley Blackner, is an
environmental attorney practicing in Florida. Frosty Wooldridge (www.frostywooldridge.com)
is a teacher and author who has bicycled 100,000 miles on six continents to
see overpopulation up close and ugly. Next book due out in June: ‘INCURSION
INTO AMERICA: IMMIGRATION’S UNARMED INVASION—DEADLY CONSEQUENCES’.