While many Earth Day events this past week focused on climate justice, sustainability and protecting the environment, some continue to take this week as an opportunity to bash immigrants. Earth Day for the anti-immigrant movement and groups like NumbersUSA, Californians For Population Stabilization (CAPS), and the Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform (CAIR) to mention a few, is just another opportunity to scapegoat immigrants.
Anti-immigrant groups use this time to hone in on who they perceive as the culprits of environmental degradation: immigrants. Below is a week’s review of the activities of nativist organizations.
On Saturday, April 21, 2012, Roy Beck wrote a blog called, “Population Growth — the surprising topic at Earth Day.” The blog is about how NumbersUSA participated in one of the nation’s three largest Earth Day Festivals at the Texas State Fairgrounds. According to NumbersUSA, the anti-immigrant group displayed a “giant red and green U.S. population chart, as usual.” Beck commented in the blog about the Earth Day Festival:
We are experimenting this year to see what happens if we don’t put the word “immigration” in public and start only with U.S. population issues. We introduce immigration only when people read it in the survey they are taking or in the handouts — or, as often happens, they say, “so how do you exactly propose that we keep that (meaning the red on the chart) from happening.
Californians For Population Stabilization (CAPS) put out a blog titled 10 Ideas for Earth Day and blogs with titles like, “On Earth Day: Family Planning Is the Key to a Green Society.” CAPS had a table at the Santa Barbara Earth Day Festival and also ran an advertisement blaming immigrants for global warming.
Fred Elbel, who is listed as a spokesperson for the Colorado Alliance for Immigration Reform (CAIR), an anti-immigrant group listed on the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) website, sent out the following message for Earth Day:
Sadly, so-called “environmental” organizations have abandoned domestic population as an issue. For example, the Sierra Club received a $100 million donation on the condition that it not discuss the immigration – population connection – see www.SUSPS.org . Thus exponential immigration-driven population growth remains the elephant in the living room.
The sad reality is that these are just a few of many activities the anti-immigrant movement has used to co-opt Earth Day for its racist agenda.
Environmentalists committed to real sustainability must stand strong on Earth Day, not only to fight for what we believe is a viable path toward a healthier planet, but to fight against the racist ideologies that try to gain legitimacy.