Earth Day Message: Mass Migration Harms the Environment

April 22, 2019

“Acting irresponsibly and causing great damage to our planet …”

 

WASHINGTON—The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) is celebrating Earth Day with a reminder of the destructive effects on our environment caused by mass migration. 

 

“On Earth Day, we should all recognize our responsibility to be good stewards of our environment,” said Dale L. Wilcox, executive director and general counsel of IRLI. “Those who advocate against borders and reasonable immigration controls are acting irresponsibly and causing great damage to our planet. An effective plan to protect our environment must recognize the role that mass migration plays in boosting CO2 emissions and pollution to dangerous levels.”  

 

637 million metric tons of CO2 emissions annually 

Immigration-generated population growth is fueling an increase in energy demand and the waste product that accompanies it. Immigrants to the United States alone produce about four times more CO2 in the United States as they would have in their countries of origin. U.S. immigrants produce an estimated 637 million metric tons of CO2 emissions annually — equal to Great Britain and Sweden combined. Strangely, governments that stress the urgency of addressing climate change are also some of the biggest opponents of border enforcement and immigration limits.

 

Mass migration grows America’s carbon footprint

One of the most popular talking points of climate change advocates is that the United States has less than five percent of the world’s population, yet consumes about a quarter of the world’s fossil fuel resources. If that is true, then why do some of the same people support immigration policies that significantly increase American fuel consumption as well as its carbon footprint? The two positions are wildly inconsistent.

 

Global climate hypocrisy 

While issuing apocalyptic warnings about climate change, the United Nations simultaneously encourages countries to accept even more migrants. After the Trump administration pulled the United States out of the UN’s Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Bulgaria followed suit. Austria and Slovakia have also indicated they will act similarly. Their objection is that the pact may encourage more illegal alien arrivals and is not in the interests of the host country. 

 

Border trash is piling up

The environmental damage from mass migration extends beyond just increased CO2 output. The land around our southern border is riddled with trash, and it is directly proportional to the numbers of those who make the perilous journey to enter our country illegally. 

 

According to the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, in fiscal years 2011 and 2012, when Arizona was experiencing over 120,000 border apprehensions, over 65,000 pounds of border trash was being collected annually. That’s more than 32 tons of garbage—plastic water bottles, abandoned vehicles, human waste, medical products and much more—on the ground. In the following years, as apprehensions fell as low as 70,000, border trash collections dropped as well – reaching a low of just 19,000 pounds in fiscal year 2015 before jumping back up in 2016. This is only one of our four southern border states, and not even the largest.

 

Our government needs to act

With this kind of pollution caused by mass migration, surely our federal government is on the case. That assumption would be wrong. IRLI has argued that federal immigration-regulating agencies—in particular, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security—have ignored the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), our nation’s preeminent environmental law, for decades. Since it became law nearly a half century ago, NEPA has required any agency, before implementing actions or programs that will affect the environment, to issue an Environmental Impact Statement analyzing and publicizing those effects. The federal government’s immigration programs are probably the most environmentally consequential programs there are, yet no such analysis has ever been done.

 

For additional information, contact: Brian Lonergan • 202-232-5590 • blonergan@irli.org

Please reload

Latest News & Posts
Please reload

IRLI is a supporting organization of the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

Copyright © 2019 Immigration Reform Law Institute. All rights reserved.