Health & Environment

New PFIR video is latest nativist effort to disparage immigrants as environmental threat

Imagine2050 Staff • Apr 14, 2015

In a series of web videos released late last week, anti-immigrant front group Progressives for Immigration Reform (PFIR) reinvigorated its efforts to scapegoat immigrants as a leading source of environmental degradation. PFIR continues these efforts despite longstanding evidence that population is not the cause of our global environmental woes.

In a video uploaded to PFIR’s official YouTube channel entitled “Does It Make Sense To Curtail Immigration?” the group continued its efforts to advance the false premise that immigrants threaten the environment and immigration should therefore be reduced.

The 3+ minute video largely centers on a man discussing population and immigration accompanied by images of nature, pollution, and urban sprawl. “Growing populations demand more food, goods, services, and space. Where there’s scarcity, population increase only aggravates it. In light of this, doesn’t it make sense to at the very least curtail immigration?” the man asks near the video’s end.

Another man featured in the video recites several lines of awkward poetry about population and sustainability (e.g. “Does anyone even dare to ask / In this country, how many people can you pack” and “You see you can’t do anything about conservation / Unless we start talking about population”).

Founded in 2009, PFIR occupies a relatively small space within the organized anti-immigrant movement, as a front group seeking to make the movement’s nativist agenda more palatable to environmentalists and others on the political left.

However, even a cursory examination of the group reveals that it shares staff and marches in lockstep with leading anti-immigrant groups like the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR). As Imagine 2050 revealed in 2013, PFIR executive director Leah Durant – despite leading this self-identified “progressive” organization – is involved with numerous conservative and Republican Party groups in Virginia. Prior to joining PFIR, Durant worked for FAIR as an attorney.

PFIR’s latest anti-immigrant videos follow their disingenuous television ad aired in Louisiana ahead of last November’s election, which likened immigrants to a natural disaster such as Hurricane Katrina.

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