DHS Sued For Not Assessing The Environmental Cost Of Mass Immigration

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) filed suit against the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to shift gears and conduct environmental reviews on allowing millions of more people move to the U.S.

CIS says federal agencies have not conducted environmental reviews of immigration policies, despite population growth being the first issue listed under Congress’s “declaration of national environmental policy” in 1970. CIS favors limiting the number of immigrants allowed into the U.S. every year.

“The fact is that 96 percent of population growth in this country between now and 2060 — approximately 75 million people — is going to be driven by immigration,” CIS attorney Julie Axelrod said in a statement.

“DHS should not make sweeping changes to our immigration laws without careful consideration of what massive population growth means for America’s vulnerable natural resources and wildlife,” Axelrod said.

CIS wants DHS to comply with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) of 1970 and conduct environmental reviews on allowing more immigrants to move to the U.S. (RELATED: UN Environment Chief Racked Up A Massive Carbon Footprint With ‘Extensive Travel’)

Axelrod is also the author of a report on the failure of federal agencies to assess the environmental impact of letting tens of millions of people into the country. Axelrod said federal agencies act as if immigration policies “are exempt from compliance” with NEPA and the Endangered Species Act (ESA).

The White House and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service “should explicitly tell agencies to stop ignoring immigration in their environmental compliance procedures, and the public must receive the transparency it deserves on immigration at last, as Congress intended,” Axelrod wrote in her report.

President Richard Nixon signed NEPA into law at a time when population growth was a major concern for environmentalists and government planners. Theories, like the “population bomb,” were en vogue and many feared overpopulation would put too much strain on humanity’s ability to feed people.

Dire overpopulation predictions, however, never came to fruition. Indeed, America’s population has grown by more than 100 million people since 1970 as has food production and standards of living.

“That’s not how conservatives, who have been desperate to roll back the regulatory footprint of environmental laws for decades now, see things,” Liz Mair, a Republican strategist and pro-immigration advocate, told The Daily Caller News Foundation.

“And this should be another reminder that CIS is not a conservative organization; it is at root a deeply liberal one that has simply found a way to make common cause with a segment of conservatives that even in the era of President Stephen Miller still constitute a minority of the movement, overall, and the GOP,” said Mair.

While some environmentalists still fear overpopulation, prominent U.S. groups oppose the Trump administration’s plan to build a border wall to stem the flow of illegal immigrants from Central America.

The Center for Biological Diversity and the Sierra Club joined California’s appeal to federal judges to stop the administration’s border wall plans. The coalition argued the Trump administration violated the law by not conducting environmental reviews for the border wall.

California filed suit against the border wall in 2017, but a U.S. district court judge shot down the lawsuit. The judge sided with the Trump administration, ruling federal law allows environmental reviews to be waived on matters of border security.

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