Alleged Gunman’s Manifesto Echoes Anti-Immigrant Groups’ Malthusian Screed

This afternoon, a gunman entered the Discovery Communications building in Silver Spring, MD and appears to have taken at least one person hostage. Among his various bizarre, eco-related demands, one relates directly to immigration. The alleged hostage-taker, James Jay Lee, calls for the elimination of “anchor baby filth” and “immigration pollution”:

Programs must be developed to find solutions to stopping ALL immigration pollution and the anchor baby filth that follows that. Find solutions to stopping it. Call for people in the world to develop solutions to stop it completely and permanently. Find solutions FOR these countries so they stop sending their breeding populations to the US and the world to seek jobs and therefore breed more unwanted pollution babies. FIND SOLUTIONS FOR THEM TO STOP THEIR HUMAN GROWTH AND THE EXPORTATION OF THAT DISGUSTING FILTH! (The first world is feeding the population growth of the Third World and those human families are going to where the food is! They must stop procreating new humans looking for nonexistant jobs!)

Lee’s immigration screed bears a troubling resemblance to views and policies espoused by anti-immigrant groups such as NumbersUSA, the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), Progressives for Immigration Reform, and others. Just this past month, FAIR released “The Environmentalist’s Guide to a Sensible Immigration Policy.” The report connects immigration to “pollution, sprawl, congestion, and ecological degradation,” complaining that “so-called environmentalists pretend as if this connection does not exist.” As usual, FAIR prescribes an overall reduction in immigration as the solution to the country’s environmental woes (in slightly more diplomatic terms).

Last month, The Nation published a story explaining the history behind the “greenwashing” of “nativism”:

Population stabilization has been taboo for progressive greens since the late 1970s. But anti-immigrationists like FAIR founder John Tanton, a former Sierra Club activist, cut their teeth on the overpopulation anxiety that permeated the environmental movement earlier in that decade. Subsequently, they used the Malthusian lingo of resource scarcity, carrying capacity (the maximum population an environment can sustain indefinitely) and overshoot (when a population exceeds its carrying capacity) to launder the image of the white nationalists with whom they became allies. When climate change became a public issue, it gave fresh impetus to what population specialist Betsy Hartmann has called the “greening of hate.”CIS and other FAIR spinoffs like NumbersUSA and Population-Environment Balance, along with the sympathetic Carrying Capacity Network, have all touted immigration as the chief reason for the rise in greenhouse gas emissions — as low-carbon immigrants adopted the high-carbon lifestyles of the rich countries to which they had moved.

It’s not a coincidence that many of these are amongst the same groups that have always supported changing the 14th amendment to deny “anchor babies,” or the American-born children of undocumented immigrants, citizenship — long before the debate entered the political mainstream this summer. FAIR’s legal arm, the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) is also responsible for authoring Arizona’s recently passed immigration law.


Studies by “so-called environmentalists” actually show that “immigrants, in essence, are doing precisely what planners want the rest of us to do.” UCLA professor Ali Modarres recently found that, compared to Americans, more immigrants walk, bike, bus, or metro to work and fewer drive cars in the state of California.