It once was the case that at least some liberals supported immigration limits because of the harmful effects of excess population on the environment as a primary reason. But many have forgotten because politics have become more important than preserving the nation’s natural resources that support life.
For example, California’s severe five-year drought from 2011 to 2017 was a brutal reminder that nature still rules, and states that are part desert shouldn’t engage in endless growth: most residents had to observe water consumption limits which meant shorter showers and investing in efficient plumbing devices. At the extreme, some residents in Porterville, California ran out of water and needed to have it trucked in. California’s growing population, long on the brink of 40 million, means that the limited water supply must be divided into ever smaller shares. And civilization cannot survive without water.
Below, drought is a major concern in overpopulated California.
But the Open Borders urge is strong within Democrat politicians since diverse foreign voters tend to be the biggest supporters of the big government policies D-pols enact.
Tucker Carlson recently interviewed a rare liberal who thinks immigration should be limited, Prof. Phil Cafaro, author of the 2015 book How Many Is Too Many.
As it happens, I reviewed that book in The Social Contract: see ‘How Many Is Too Many?’ – A progressive considers limiting immigration.
I found the book acceptable in some ways, but not all. Regarding the important issue of the Sierra Club’s perfidy where it secretly sold out the environment for a $100 million bribe, Cafaro is squirrelly at best. As I wrote in my review:
However, the treatment of the struggle for reform in the Sierra Club starting in 1998 leaves out vital elements, and they are important. Were any of the reformers interviewed? Apparently not. The book quotes Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope as saying that he had once believed that immigration should be reduced for environmental reasons, but that the issue could not be debated in the organization “without stirring up racial passions.”
That’s an odd thing for a professional defender of the environment to say: Well, we wanted to protect America’s environment, but people got angry so we won’t talk about immigration any more. In fact, the Sierra Club supported the terrible 2013 Senate Gang of Eight bill that would have doubled legal immigration in perpetuity.
So it’s not David Brower’s Sierra Club any more, and the reason was leftist politics combined with big money—over $100 million secretly donated by Wall Street investor David Gelbaum over the years 2000 and 2001. But the gift came with strings attached: “I did tell Carl Pope in 1994 or 1995 that if they ever came out anti-immigration, they would never get a dollar from me.” (“The Man Behind the Land,” Los Angeles Times, October 27, 2004)
But that secret bribe was not known to the grassroots reformers (and I was one of them) who worked for eight years within the Sierra Club’s democratic structures to return the issue of excessive immigration to its proper place as being understood as a negative force on the environment. Had we known that the fix was in, we would not have wasted so much time trying to fix a deeply corrupt organization.
So Cafaro blew off the most contentious environmental issue in decades apparently because he didn’t want to remind environmentalists about how rotten the top organization is. It would have been nice if Tucker Carlson had been more informed — he mentioned the Sierra Club but only in reference to the recent destructive wildfires.
Tucker Carlson Tonight Transcript, Fox News, December 6, 2018
TUCKER CARLSON: So, there are a lot of divisions on the Left, not often aired in public. They do disagree with each other. If there’s one issue that unites almost everybody on that side though, it’s immigration.
And the principle they’ve united behind is that anybody from anywhere on the globe should be allowed to come into the United States, no questions asked. If you don’t believe that pay attention. For example, look at the theater surrounding the recent migrant Caravan.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEPHANIE LEIGH RUHLE, NBC NEWS CORRESPONDENT, ANCHOR, MSNBC LIVE: All of this for a group of people, a lot of whom are mothers and children, who pose no imminent threat.
VAN JONES, AMERICAN NEWS COMMENTATOR, AUTHOR, NON-PRACTICING ATTORNEY, DREAM CORPS CO-FOUNDER: The President of the United States has decided that a couple thousand scared, sick, you know, people fleeing violence are a bigger threat to the United States than ISIS.
MARIA CARDONA, LATINOVATIONS FOUNDER, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST, CNN/CNN EN ESPANOL POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: Guess what, Ben? It’s in our laws that people are allowed to come to our borders and ask for asylum.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CARLSON: So, this is a new thing. It seems like they’ve always had this view, but no. Many on the lift — Left, used to be skeptical of mass immigration, partly for economic reasons because it undermined the wages of workers. But there were others, many others, who had environmental concerns too about letting a lot more people into the country.
Phil Cafaro is the Author of How Many Is Too Many?: The Progressive Argument to Reducing Immigration into the United States. And he joins us tonight.
Mr. Cafaro, thank you very much for coming on. Having you is the result of a long nationwide search to find someone with your views, because I remember so well as a kid that Democrats were really concerned, some were, Liberals, about overpopulation and the effects on the natural environment.
And I always kind of agreed with that. Tell me your concerns about mass immigration and its effect on the environment.
PHILIP CAFARO, HOW MANY IS TOO MANY AUTHOR, PHILOSOPHER, PROFESSOR: Well, Tucker, I’m not sure I’m the last Liberal in — in the country who’s concerned about immigration-driven population growth. But we are a minority–
CAFARO: –among environmentalists. I — I’ll give you that.
CARLSON: Yes. So, I see like the Sierra Club, which used to care about the Sierras. Huge fire breaks out in the Sierras last summer, started inadvertently by an illegal immigrant or the — the degradation of marijuana farming in Northern California, which really does poison the soil, and they say literally nothing because their concern for open borders overrides their concern for the environment.
What is that about?
CAFARO: Well, I think you’re absolutely right. If you go back to the — the birth of the Environmental Movement 50, 60 years ago, there was so much concern and — and focus on population issues because people saw the connections between–
CAFARO: –overuse of resources, between too much pollution, and — and the sheer numbers of people. And — and environmentalists used to talk about that. I think what happened between then and now is back then most of our population growth was coming from the number of children we were having–
CAFARO: –native Americans. Whereas today, population growth in the U.S. is primarily driven by high levels of immigration. So, people, for whatever reason, weren’t as comfortable saying we needed to limit immigration, as they were saying we need to limit how many — how many kids we have.
CAFARO: I think that’s a mistake though because either way–
CARLSON: I agree with that.
CAFARO: –you’re — you’re driving population growth and that has environmental consequences.
CARLSON: So quickly, and I wish we had more time for this, because I think it’s fascinating and I would urge people to buy your book on this, what’s the response you get from your fellow Liberals when you — when you say, “Wait a second. You know, there are environmental effects of letting all these people in,” what do they say to you?
CAFARO: Well, mostly what I get are — are people who — most people say, “Well, I didn’t realize that. I — I hadn’t thought about that.”
CAFARO: Because, as you say, environmentalists have stopped talking about it. But the — the responses really run the gamut from, you know, how long have you been a racist to–
CAFARO: –oh, thank you so much for talking about that. I’ve — I’ve been thinking that myself, and — and I’m just not comfortable talking about it.
CAFARO: So, it’s an interesting thing to talk and write about because you do get such a wide range of responses.
CARLSON: Yes. I mean, spend a week in a crowded, dirty country, and you’ll find that you don’t want to live in a place like that, I think. Phil Cafaro, thank you very much for your positions and for explaining them to us.
CAFARO: Thanks for having me, Tucker. I appreciate it. Thanks.