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National Coalition Calls for Immigration Moratorium to Protect the Environment

Immigration Moratorium ASAP! Alliance for Stabilizing America's Population

Anne Elizabeth Beale, Population-Environment Balance, Balance ACTIVIST, Number 83, 9/97

The Alliance for Stabilizing America's Population (ASAP!), a coalition of over forty environmental, population, and immigration reduction organizations from across the country, is calling for an immigration moratorium as an essential first step toward protecting the environment by stabilizing the population of the United States.

Why We Need U.S. Population Stabilization With a population of over 267 million people, the United States is the third most populated country in the world, increasing in population by nearly three million people every year (of which 60% is due to immigration and the children of recent immigrants). If current trends continue, our population will exceed 500 million by 2050. Continuing to grow at this rate, we will add over the next five years another 15 million people, or the population equivalent of another Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago, and Houston combined.

Our growing population size has been devastating. To accommodate growth, we pave over an area equal to the state of Delaware every year! Each person added results in utilizing an extra acre of land for urbanization and road-building, Annual delays in travel time are expected to increase by 5.6 billion hours over the next two decades as our population grows. Clearly, our ability to support a population within resource limits is challenged by our continued unsustainable growth.

ASAP! In an effort to stabilize our population and ultimately protect our environment, ASAP! is pushing for the immediate development and adoption of a national policy which would lead to U.S. population stabilization by the year 2020. To achieve this goal, ASAP! signatories have signed the ASAP! Statement of Principles calling for: reduced fertility rates in the U.S.; reduced immigration; and the development of policies that mitigate factors driving international migration. To date, 45 environmental, population, and immigration reduction organizations from across the country have signed the ASAP! Statement of Principles.

The United States has a history of much talk and little action concerning U.S. population stabilization. In 1972, the U.S. Commission on Population and the American Future (the Rockefeller Commission) proposed that "the nation welcomed a plan for a stabilized population." Specific recommendations of the Rockefeller Commission included establishment of a national population policy and a moratorium on new immigration. More recently, the President's Council on Sustainable Development readdressed the goal of a national population policy, "recognizing the need to "move toward stabilization of the U.S. population." Yet despite such recommendations we have seen little action, quality of life in the United States through population.

ASAP! is unique in this regard. ASAP! recognizes the urgency for U.S. population stabilization and offers a specific set of actions.

Conference Brings Together Groups from Across the Country ASAP! signatories and prominent individuals recently gathered in Estes Park, Colorado for the 1997 ASAP! Action Conference, hosted by Population- Environment Balance (BALANCE). With an agenda including speeches by Senator Gaylord Nelson, Dr. Albert Bartlett, and syndicated columnist Georgie Anne Geyer, local and national activist groups joined to address all aspects of population growth in the United States. Ultimately, ASAP! signatories developed and adopted methods and policies to achieve U.S. population stabilization through grassroots activism and legislative orientation.

Action Plan Because immigration is currently the driving force behind our unsustainable population growth of nearly 3 million a year, the following policies were overwhelmingly approved by ASAP! signatories present at the conference:

Immigration Moratorium Immediate enactment of a 5-year immigration moratorium with an all-inclusive (including refugees and asylees) firm cap of 100,000 a year. This is to be followed by the ASAP! position of replacement-level immigration (about 200,000 a year). Signatories agreed to support the Mass Immigration Reduction Act (HR 41) introduced by Rep. Bob Stump (R-AZ), with amendments to include a firm, non- pierceable cap of 100,000 a year. ASAP! signatories will not support (but may choose not to oppose) other immigration legislation unless it is amended to include the ASAP! moratorium. No Further Amnesties No further amnesties should be granted for illegal immigrants. This only adds to our population growth, drives unending chain migration, and encourages illegal immigration. Enforcement of Current Immigration Laws Specifically, existing law requiring apprehension and deportation of illegal immigrants currently in the United States should be enforced. Deny Citizenship to Children Born to Illegal Immigrants Signatories supported the denial of citizenship to children of illegal immigrants. One bill which would achieve this is the Citizenship Reform Act of 1999 (HR 73) introduced by Rep. Brian Bilbray (R-CA). With a strong history of concern for U.S. population stabilization and overwhelming public support for reduced immigration combined with a solid Action Plan, ASAP! is an important vehicle for achieving U.S. population stabilization.

Anne Elizabeth Beale is a member of Population-Environment Balance, a national, non-profit membership organization dedicated to maintaining and improving the quality of life in the United States through population stabilization. For more information, she can be reached at 1-800-866-6269.

Population-Environment Balance is a national, non-profit membership organization dedicated to maintaining the quality of life in the United States through population stabilization.
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