Our VoiceImmigration

Negative Population Growth continues racist scapegoating of immigrants

Nicole Loeffler-Gladstone • Sep 07, 2012

The most recent issue of the Negative Population Growth (NPG) Journal was published earlier this month, and contains a litany of racist complaints about immigrants and the irreparable harm they are doing to society and the environment.

NPG was founded by John Tanton and receives funding from Tanton’s Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). NPG’s tiresome refrain – that there are simply “too many people” in our country and in the world and they, not us, are ruining the planet – blatantly ignores core environmental problems like the inequalities of consumption.

Though NPG offers little in the way of solutions, its official position is that immigration should be capped at 200,000 people per year. They also advocate phasing out family reunification and suggest amend the Constitution to prevent U.S. born children of undocumented parents from being recognized as citizens.

The NPG Journal reports that the large majority of their member base is over the age of 50 and that “reaching America’s youth is incredibly important.” It will also be incredibly difficult, given its simplistic scapegoating tactics and racist language, and most people’s ability to see through their façade of legitimacy.

The Journal goes on to lament the political correctness of the mainstream media. With pitch-perfect irony, NPG rails against the “biased, one-sided reporting” related to mainstream media coverage of population and immigration issues. This analysis ignores the frequent, intentional and dehumanizing use of the word “illegal” to describe undocumented immigrants. It also ignores the many mainstream tactics and platforms that anti-immigrant activists, populationists and Islamophobes use to trumpet their bigotry.

The NPG Journal endorses John Tanton’s Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) which serves the Tanton Network as its “objective” think-tank. CIS is far from objective, given its links to white nationalist websites such as VDARE and to the Tanton Network itself. NPG also endorses H.R. 997, or the “English Language Unity Act of 2011.” The bill, which would make English the official language of the United States, would also “nullify a Clinton-era executive order that requires federal agencies to provide interpreters for non-English speakers accessing social programs.” As can be expected, Representative Steve King (who authored the bill and has failed five different times to get it passed) is in deep with some of the most outspoken members of the racist far-right.

Though NPG’s overall rhetoric is reactionary and racist, there is one particular phrase that stands out from the rest. In his commentary in the first section of the Journal, NPG president Donald Mann describes DREAMers as “students.” The implication of those quotation marks speaks volumes to the levels of bigotry and hatred among Mann and his cohorts.

Negative Population Growth has a vague stance on both environmental issues and their intended methods to rid the world of “too many people.” However, their rhetoric toward immigrants in general, and Latinos in particular, is clear. Anti-immigrant activists belonging to the neo-Malthusian tradition claim that populations are constrained by the carrying capacity of the environment, and that population growth causes environmental degradation. Unfortunately such a perspective, held firmly by NPG, concludes that people become pollutants, with all the racial overtones of such a social construction.

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