In a new report, the right-wing Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) is promoting its anti-immigrant agenda by suggesting that “Immigration to the United States significantly increases world-wide CO2 emissions,” and “future levels of immigration will have a significant impact on efforts to reduce global CO2 emissions.”
CIS criticizes “environmentalists” for using a “piecemeal” approach of opposing fossil fuels and promoting conservation, claiming that the real way to help the environment would be to stop immigration. From the report:
Immigration to the United States significantly increases world-wide CO2 emissions
because it transfers population from lower-polluting parts of the world to the United States, which is a higher polluting country. On average immigrants increase their emissions four-fold by coming to America.
CIS assumes that each American will always have the same “stabilized” rate of carbon emission, and thus population growth — fueled by immigrants — is entirely to blame for a rise in American CO2 levels. But instead of proposing that Americans modify their behavior and emit less carbon, CIS simply posits stopping immigration to cut down on population.
As the Immigration Policy Center (IPC) pointed out in a press release, CIS is using all these arguments to essentially scapegoat immigrants:
Immigrants are not the problem – the U.S. lifestyle and U.S. CO2 emissions are the problem. … We could choose any group of Americans – the wealthy, residents of a particular state, dog owners, accountants, redheads – and eliminating that group would lower emissions.
CIS, whose founder Mark Krikorian has said that “immigration is incompatible with modern society,” has a history of promoting outrageous ideas to control migration to the U.S. These include attempting to deport the spouses of American soldiers, and suggesting Americans try “making America a more inhospitable place” for immigrants.
But CIS is not alone on the right in blaming immigrants for environmental problems. Homeland Security Chairman Michael Chertoff has also said that immigrants “degrade the environment” with “human waste, garbage, discarded bottles and other human artifact.”