Are you ever tied up in a traffic jam and start to wonder, “Where are all these people coming from?” Have you tried to go camping only to find out the campgrounds have long since been “filled up?” Have more and more acres in your area that once produced food, now only produce urban heat pads? Has your state had to divert more and more water from agricultural usage to human consumption? And in general, has the population footprint on the environment in your area been enlarged by population growth? Does water run downhill?
Then the answer to the question asked in the first sentence is immigration — both legal and illegal. In fact, according to both the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) and the Pew Hispanic Center, new immigrants and their U.S.-born children account for 75 to 80 percent of our annual population growth.
You don’t have to be a tree hugger to recognize that massive population increases have negatively affected the environment. Everything from water scarcity to urban sprawl can be attributed to population increases and, as I said, population increases in the U.S. can almost completely be attributed to immigration. So, beyond the negative impact of massive immigration on housing costs, schools, hospitals, energy, incarceration rates, and the breakdown of assimilation that the left and the media refuse to acknowledge — add environmental impact.
Congress passed a law in 1969 known as NEPA (National Environmental Policy Act) and it has been used extensively and with a heavy hand to regulate development in almost every area of our economy. A central feature of the law is the provision requiring that any proposed governmental action that affects the environment be examined through public comment and hearings to assure its benefits outweigh any adverse impact on the environment. Federal agencies must conduct “Environmental Impact Assessments” before implementing any new action or program.
Even the Pentagon and every branch of the military has to comply with NEPA in its programs and operations. And yet, since 1970, not one federal agency — not the predecessor to the U.S. Customs and Immigration Service, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), nor the Environmental Protection Agency, the Forest Service, the Centers for Disease Control, the Federal Highway Administration, nor the Public Health Service — not a single federal agency has ever complied with the mandates of the NEPA with respect to its immigration-related programs and activities.
There is no secret as to the lack of interest in applying NEPA requirements to immigration. You see, the law requires that BEFORE you undertake a project you must go through an extensive review and that means no new immigration, or very little, until the review can be completed. Holy scare the living heck out of the open borders crowd, Batman!! And then what if the review shows the real damage being done to the environment is substantial (and it would be hard not to)? What would the remedy be? Too horrible for both the “borders mean nothing” crowd or the crony capitalists to contemplate.
Well now, the good news. Finally, in 2017, 48 years after NEPA was enacted, that bipartisan “blind-eye” toward immigration is being challenged.
A coalition of non-profit organizations led by the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI), an affiliate of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), has filed a lawsuit to force federal agencies to follow the requirements of NEPA and examine the impact of mass immigration on the environment. The lawsuit was filed in October of 2016 in federal district court against the Department of Homeland Security, but, if successful, it would lead to changes in many other federal agencies as well.
The 85-page Preliminary Statement filed by nine plaintiffs in the U.S. Federal Court for the District of Southern California opens with this statement of a claim against the federal Homeland Security agency:
Like its predecessor agency, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (“INS”), DHS has turned a blind eye regarding the environmental impacts, including the cumulative impacts, of its actions concerning foreign nationals who enter and settle into the United States pursuant to the agency’s discretionary actions. The resulting environmental impacts from these actions are significant and an analysis of these impacts by DHS is required pursuant to the National Environmental Policy Act (“NEPA”), see 42 U.S.C. § 4331 et seq. (2016), and its implementing regulations. But DHS, like INS before it, undertakes no such NEPA review. Accordingly, DHS is acting in contravention of its legal obligations.
The lawsuit was the subject of a September 23, 2017, presentation at the annual meeting of the Writers Workshop in Washington, DC, which can be viewed here.
Full and equitable enforcement of the National Environmental Policy Act is 48 years overdue. Citizens who want immigration policy to reflect national priorities and not “global citizenship” should support the new lawsuit and demand the same of our elected officials.