Nativists Orgs Inaccurately Blast Immigrants for Strain on US Infrastructure

Emily Douglas

Long commute? Plenty of anti-immigrant organizations want you to blame strain on U.S. resources -- not to mention traffic -- on immigrants, but they're wrong.

Long commute? Plenty of anti-immigrant organizations want you to blame strain on U.S. resources — not to mention traffic — on immigrants, but that’s a cheap, even "laughable" connection, say Laurie Mazur and Priscilla Huang in a new piece on the Center for American Progress site. Traffic itself is better explained by chronic under-investment in transportation infrastructure. "Cities from Amsterdam to Curitiba, Brazil, have…proved that population
density does not lead inexorably to sprawl and environmental
destruction," the authors write. But the bigger picture is falsely drawn, as well. Climate change and environmental impact is not limited to the number of people in the United States, but the number of people on Earth, and far more complex than determined simply by the total world population:

[W]hile there is a relationship between population growth and
environmental destruction, it is a complex one. Environmental impact is
determined not just by our numbers, but by how we use resources—our
systems of production and consumption and the policies that shape them…Climate change and other environmental problems do not respect national
borders.

How can we ethically and accurately connect population and environment? Start exploring "real solutions," say Mazur and Huang, "like universal access to reproductive health services,
equal rights for women and girls, and a just and sustainable global
economic system."

Check out Rewire and Population Action International’s recent feature series on population and climate change for a start to the conversation.

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