Council for Social and Economic Studies P.O. Box 34143 Washington, DC 20043
Home Electronic Version
(Subscribers Only)
Prices / Subscribe
Recent Back Issues Sample Articles About JSPES

JSPES, Vol. 34, No. 3 (Fall 2009)
pp. 290-317

The Environmental Argument for Reducing Immigration to the United States

Philip Cafaro

Winthrop Staples

Colorado State University

The authors argue that a serious commitment to environmentalism entails ending America’s population growth by implementing a more restrictive immigration policy. The need to limit immigration necessarily follows when we combine a clear statement of our main environmental goals – living sustainably and sharing the landscape generously with other species. He supports this with uncontroversial accounts of the current U.S. demographic trajectory and of the negative environmental effects of U.S. population growth, nationally and globally. At the current level of 1.5 million immigrants per year, America’s population of 306 million is set to increase to over 700 million people by 2100. Recent “reform” proposals would actually increase immigration to over two million annually, which has the potential to nearly triple the U.S. population to over 850 million by the end of the century. The U.S. is losing the battle to create a sustainable society and protect wild nature. Sprawl development destroys 2.2 million acres of wild lands and agricultural lands each year; over 1300 plant and animal species remain on the endangered species list, with more added each year; water shortages in the west and southeast are being used to justify new riverkilling dams and reservoirs; and U.S. carbon emissions continue to rise.