The pollution problem of the Chesapeake Bay threatening fish and shellfish populations is no secret to environmentalists and politicians alike. However the new spin conservatives have linked to the crisis is nothing short of surprising. The Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) is targeting environmentalist support, noting that overpopulation is a major concern and source of the Bay’s troubles. FAIR argues that immigration population growth is to blame and through reduction in immigration levels, stability can be achieved. The Sierra Club and the Audubon Society are some of the groups that FAIR is hoping to attract to their efforts.
A 2011 Conservative Political Action conference in February featured a beautifully photographed report on the health of the Chesapeake Bay. However on closer inspectionthe report “Immigration, Population Growth and the Chesapeake Bay” is the latest sign that blaming immigrants for environmental degradation has joined other immigrant-demonizing strategies as a favored tactic of the anti-immigration movement.
FAIR is at the center of a network of anti-immigration organizations founded by nativist John Tanton, who continues to serve on its board. Tanton is an ophthalmologist who headed the Sierra Club’s population committee in the 1970s, and, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center, “kept moving to the right, eventually coming to embrace an array of eugenicists, white nationalists and race scientists as he increasingly viewed ‘European-American’ society as under threat.”
Title: Common Ground for Environmentalists and Anti-Immigration Groups
Author: Peter Montgomery
Publication: AlterNet, 3/9/2011
Student Researcher: Amanda Newhall Sonoma State University
Faculty Evalutor: Peter Phillips, Sonoma State University