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Overpopulation Via Immigration Is Destroying America’s Environment

America is overpopulated. Unchecked population growth over the last 70 years, driven by immigration rather than a healthy birth rate, now poses a serious ecological threat in the American West and a monumental social and political challenge in the rest of the country. 

Since the passage of the Hart-Cellar Act in 1965, which radically overhauled American immigration policy to favor third-world migrants, tens of millions of additional human beings legally and illegally entered the country. Pew Research estimates that without the Hart-Cellar Act, the United States would have had 72 million fewer people as of 2015. 

That would have been a much better America. 

In 1965, when polled on immigration policy, 70 percent of Americans argued for keeping immigration levels the same or decreasing them. At the time, only 5 percent of Americans were foreign born. Today, that cohort is 13 percent. In other words, Congress ignored the will of the American people in order to dramatically alter the demographic makeup of the nation. 

Immigration radically transformed American society, yes, but it also radically altered the literal American landscape. Mass immigration fueled a population boom on the West Coast that the nation simply does not have the infrastructure or resources to handle. 

Liberals love to wax apocalyptic about the threat of global warming and climate change. They use these issues to demand communist repression at home and abroad. The “global” nature of these alleged crises demands, in their account, a global, one world response. This attack on the nation state, and its concomitant demand for the lowering of the American standard of living in the name of saving the planet, amounts to unadulterated leftist tyranny. It is a call for communism. 

In truth, the United States does face ecological crises. Our nation’s physical being is a resource for which we should be caretakers. Political conservatism and ecological conservation go together. But ours is not an amorphous “global” challenge made up of rising sea levels or carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Our real ecological challenges are particular, concrete, and specific to our actual country. 

The difference between communist environmentalism and conservative ecology lies in their entirely divergent perspectives. Communists invent and manipulate supposedly global challenges so that they can use them to carry out their resentment revolution against free people. The conservative ecologist, by contrast, focuses on solving local problems with moderate and humane solutions that promote the life of a free people.

The root of the word “ecology” comes from a combination of the Greek words oikos (meaning “house” or “home”) and logos (meaning study, learning, or reason). Ecology, then, is the study of one’s home. Ernst Haeckel, the zoologist who first coined the term, explained that ecology seeks to understand the “relation of the animal both to its organic as well as its inorganic environment.”

A conservative ecology focuses on the relation of Americans to their own national context. It is concerned with the “rocks and rills” and “templed hills” that actually make up his country. If America wishes to have a future, the amber waves of grain must be there for centuries to come. A study of and thoughtful concern for our natural resources reveal that our population growth, on the back of an influx of foreigners, is an ecological disaster waiting to happen.

The drought raging through the American West highlights how bad the problem really is.

Scottsdale, Arizona is so low on water that it can no longer sell that water to outlying communities. Hundreds of homes in Rio Verde, outside the city, have now gone dry and instead must rely on trucking in water from even further away. 

In 2015, Las Vegas installed a third water intake into Lake Mead at a depth of 860 feet above sea level. That water intake cost nearly $1 billion to construct but it was dearly needed. Lake Mead, the man-made lake created by the Hoover Dam, is now only 27 percent full. The first intake pipe, constructed in 1971 is now fully exposed and no longer operational. 

More concerning is the possibility that Lake Mead could hit “dead pool”—the moment when gravity is no longer enough to continue the flow of water through the dam. Should this occur, the more than 25 million people in California, Arizona, and Mexico that depend on the Colorado River would be subjected to a hydrological crisis.

The All-American Canal system that carries water into the Imperial Valley in southeastern California is an engineering marvel. It transformed the harsh desert environment into one of the most productive agricultural regions in the United States. The Imperial Valley’s agricultural sector produces $1 billion a year in crops. 

In total, American farms produced $164 billion in goods in 2021. The loss of even a small portion of this total could lead to serious social and political upheaval throughout the United States and, possibly, the world. The Central Valley in California, where I grew up, produces nearly a quarter of the nation’s food supply. It is increasingly threatened by drought. Long-term arid conditions have led to increased groundwater usage and well drilling. There are concerns that the demands made by agriculture on the underground water stores will be so great that these stores will simply cease to exist. 

Los Angeles imports nearly 85 percent of its water from outside the city—much of it flowing from the Owens River through a 400-mile-long aqueduct on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevadas. In 1960, Los Angeles had a population of 2.4 million. Today, it has increased to 3.8 million. Nearly half of these residents are Hispanic, up from just 17 percent in 1970. Mass immigration is the leading factor behind increased population growth and therefore water usage. Fights over water rights in California are nothing new but they will likely get worse in the years to come as population growth puts ever greater demands on California’s already tenuous water supply. 

In the long run, California and the rest of the American southwest face enormous ecological challenges. By 2065, the American population will have likely grown to 441 million. Eighty-eight percent of this growth will likely come from immigration. Where will these 110 million new Americans get water, food, and housing? What are the ecological, political, and social ramifications of such dramatic growth?

A serious nation would ask such questions. A wise nation would answer them by dramatically reducing immigration overall—say to 10 percent of current allowances. Impoverished countries and communist nations like China should be deprioritized for access to visas and green cards. Nations that have provided too great of an influx over the last few decades, such as Mexico, should likewise see major cuts to immigration levels. 

We could also start by deporting illegal migrants and punishing employers who profit from this cheap labor. Nations with lots of visa overstays should lose access to American visas simply. We need to get serious as a nation about enforcing our most basic laws regarding who gets to live here. 

And, of course, we need to build the wall.  

Regardless of how it comes about, America needs a major immigration slowdown. We need sustainable population growth oriented toward the good of the American people and their children . . . not foreigners. America is a nation of citizens, not a nation of immigrants. 

The Constitution speaks of “securing the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity.” American policymakers should secure the blessings of our national home to the same.

I want an America that is good for me and my children. The purpose of this social compact is to secure my rights—not the rights of random foreigners. Limiting immigration would reduce pressure on the American housing market, slow the rate of ecological damage in the American southwest, and boost national cohesion. 

For our sake, and the sake of our children, we need to take moderate and thoughtful steps to reduce the demands we make on our farmland, economy, and natural wonders. Growth for the sake of growth is simply an argument in defense of cancer.

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