The Sierra Club’s Austin chapter is pulling out of an Earth Day festival in Dallas, Texas scheduled for April 23 because groups that want to restrict immigration — whether legal or illegal — will be in attendance.
The festival will also be attended by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, NumbersUSA and Progressives for Immigration Reform, all of which seek to reduce the number of people coming into America. Each group says they are participating because they have an environmental message.
“We consider them hate groups,” Reggie James, the director of The Sierra Club’s Texas chapter, told The Austin American-Statesman. “It’s Earth Day; it’s not This-Side-of-the-Border Day.”
The festival has an “open registration policy” and will accept any group that “discuss topics relevant to conservation and sustainability.” The groups typically pay between $400 and $2,000 to participate.
All of the groups claim that America’s current immigration policy is damaging the environment.
“One of the founding reasons for FAIR is that we recognize the dangers of a growing population. Nobody denies that increased population increases environmental damage,” Ira Mehlman, a spokesman for the Federation for American Immigration Reform, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “Until fairly recently, The Sierra Club had a similar position and wanted to limit population growth in the United States because of the consequences for the environment.”
The other immigration reduction groups agreed and have long histories of opposing immigration on environmental grounds.
“Population growth puts pressure on the environment, accelerates deforestation and increases our dependence on fossil fuels,” Progressive for Immigration Reform claimed in its 2014 Earth Day message. “Today, 80 percent of our population growth is spurred by immigration. While conservation is important, efforts to reduce our environmental impact must include stabilizing immigration.”
The Sierra Club previously had a similar message, and even claimed that “… all of our environmental successes may be short-lived if they do not include efforts to address population growth.” Until 1996, the environmental group’s official policy was that both birth rates and immigration levels needed to sharply decline to stabilize the American population as rapidly as possible.
The Club’s Dallas chapter will, however, participate in the Dallas festival.
The Sierra Club has has splintered and lost members over the question of immigration several times before finally announcing in 2013 that it supports a pathway to citizenship for illegal aliens. Now, the organization’s only position on population reduction is its promotion of “voluntary family planning and reproductive health services.”
This story has been updated.
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