Our VoiceImmigration

Despite Sullied Reputations, Anti-Immigrant Bigots Push Immigration & Oil Spill Argument


Rebecca Poswolsky • Jul 14, 2010

Imagine 2050 has received yet another communication from anti-immigrant leaders asking that we provide a platform for their politically extreme viewpoints. This one came from Philip Cafaro, a professor who works with anti-immigrant groups like Center for Immigration Studies and Progressives for Immigration Reform, as a response to an article I recently wrote.

Let’s set the record straight for Cafaro.  Linking the BP oil spill to immigration and population growth - as he has done - is racist and bigoted. And the fact that he makes these arguments on behalf of controversial groups like Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) raises questions about his true agenda when it comes to the environment. Cafaro writes regularly for CIS, so far producing one report and four blogs for the organization. In addition to CIS, Cafaro is an advisory board member for Progressives for Immigration Reform.  On January 12, he wrote a blog on PFIR’s website in which he lauded an article published by the white nationalist journal, The Social Contract.  Progressives for Immigration Reform and CIS are both part of white nationalist John Tanton’s network of anti-immigrant groups.

Individuals, groups and platforms that attack people of color and immigrants in the aftermath of natural and biological disasters continue to lurk in the shadow of authentic environmental activity.  Cafaro has become the go-to guy whenever anti-immigrant groups want to link environmental issues to immigration and population control. It is frightening that rhetoric like Cafaro’s continues to seep into environmental discussions.

In his response to my article, Cafaro states that I refuse to discuss important issues including population stabilization. Apparently he hasn’t bothered to read other articles I have written that clearly address these issues. Maybe his real complaint is that I haven’t discussed these issues with him. And the only way that will ever happen is if Cafaro disassociates himself with anti-immigrant groups like Progressives For Immigration Reform and Center for Immigration Studies.

When Cafaro spoke at the anti-immigrant activist panel titled, “Immigration, Population, and the Environment: Experts to Debate Impact of Current Policies” he stated,

“So environmentalists should support reducing current high levels of immigration into the United States… Despite this, it’s not the consensus position among American environmentalists

Cafaro is right about one thing, American environmentalists are not behind him.  The anti-immigrant framework and racism imbedded in his arguments doesn’t sit well with folks truly concerned with tackling climate change. That hasn’t stopped Cafaro from trying to recruit environmentalists. Hell, he even tried to engage me in his anti-immigrant framework.  I refused his bait. I, like many environmentalists, prefer having discussions and debates with others who are honest about their motives and seek real solutions. Ones free from bigotry.

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