Multi-American

How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Earth Day ad campaign targets immigrants as environmental hazards

Just ahead of Earth Day, an immigration restriction advocacy group issued a press release today saying it's launching a national television campaign "calling attention to the fact that mass immigration to the U.S. is expanding the country's already massive carbon footprint."

The TV spot itself isn't new, nor is the argument. It's based on a 2008 report from the immigration restriction advocacy think tank Center for Immigration Studies, which argued that immigrants increase their carbon footprint in the U.S. The video has been featured by at least one other activist group under a commonly-funded immigration restriction umbrella. It directs viewers to Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS), which put out the press release.

While both the construction of border fencing and human smuggling traffic do take a toll on the immediate U.S.-Mexico border region, there's no conclusive proof of a connection between immigration and global warming. But the argument that immigrants are an environmental hazard has been used for years. In the middle of the last decade, it let to a contentious split within the Sierra Club as pro-restriction activists attempted to take over the organization's board of directors; in 2005, the membership voted overwhelmingly to stay out of the immigration debate.

The advocacy network that CAPS is part of has run other ads blaming immigration for environmental woes in the past, including print ads linking immigration to urban sprawl. Last year, the pro-immigrant racial justice group Imagine 2050 spoofed the global warming ad:

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