A Monthly Commentary on Population and Immigration Issues
Presented by Negative Population Growth, Inc.
COMMENTARY by NPG President Donald Mann
A common question, frequently asked in headlines and on television screens across the nation, is: Can America “afford” the future we’re creating?
It is a loaded question, one that attracts a variety of answers – many backed by solid research – some concluding that we surely can, while others state we definitely can’t. But in arguing the answer, our nation often misses the truth of what lies ahead.
The reality is that America faces huge problems in the years to come. And when we get to the heart of the matter, most of these problems will have been caused by a U.S. population size that is too large to be sustainable – and one that continues to grow.
Whether we are looking at social, economic, or environmental havoc, our present population growth is a recipe for disaster. Every day we grow – and each day we fail to reduce both legal and illegal immigration – only feeds future troubles. That is why NPG is so focused on getting our elected leaders to adopt a long-term national population policy that will slow, halt, and eventually reverse America’s population growth.
For the “growth at any cost” crowd, such thinking is heresy. Their “live for today” philosophy is self-serving. It is a slap in the face to the serious problems we face – and a complete abandonment of our responsibility to future generations.
For NPG, the bottom line in this whole argument has been: “What’s best for our country in the long-term?” Must America always grow larger, or do we want a livable future? I actually believe the tide is turning on that question, and the “gung-ho America” crowd of the late 20th century is losing ground to responsible-thinking citizens who realize there really are no great rewards – only many costly setbacks – to America always growing, growing, growing.
A recent article in New Scientist magazine, titled “Japan’s ageing population could actually be good news,” offers great insight into this dilemma.
Author Fred Pearce points out that Japan is losing population annually and its economy has been slowing for two decades. That fact is fed by its insularity (Japan does not promote immigration), its birthrate, and its ageing citizenry. Pearce notes: “Japan has the world’s oldest population, with a median age of 46 years, an average lifespan of 84, and a quarter of the population over 65. But this doesn’t have to mean a gloomy future. What happens in the coming years may even point the way for other countries.”
That good news is underscored by the statement: “With 127 million people, Japan is hardly empty. But fewer people in [the] future will mean it has more living space, more arable land per head, and a higher quality of life… Its demands on the planet for food and other resources will also lessen.”
Pearce quotes Reiko Aoki, an economist at Hitotsubashi University in Tokyo, as stating that Japan “is the world leader in demographic change.” Pearce concludes: “For some this sounds like a disaster. China last year relaxed its one-child policy fearing that predicted population decline in the 2030s would choke its economic development. But others believe that peak population is a necessary first step to reducing our assault on the planet’s life-support systems. In that case, following Japan’s example may be just the ticket.”
Without question, Japan will have problems in the future due to its ageing population. A rise in welfare costs and medical care will combine with a drop in the workforce and national tax revenues. These are predictable and hopefully manageable. And even if Japan has to step down a notch from the ranks of a “top-tier” industrialized country, its people will be able to take solace in the fact that their nation is far more livable than others.
Sadly, the United States stands today as one of the eight countries expected to account for half of global population growth between 2013 and 2100. The other seven are: Nigeria, India, Tanzania, Congo, Niger, Uganda and Ethiopia.
It’s not too late to enact a national population policy for America, helping to remove us from this ill-fated group. And it’s not too late to change our minds as Americans – our quality of life, a livable environment, and a sustainable future can take precedence over growth!
PROTECTION FOR FEDERAL LANDS
President Obama has drawn some criticism for making clear that he will use his power of Executive Directive – acting on certain policies without the approval of Congress. As he plans to carry out that promise, some environmentalists are cheering reports that the White House is set to designate areas in New Mexico and California as “off limits” to future development.
Two sites in line for protection are the approximately 500,000-acre Organ Mountain-Desert Peaks region (near Las Cruces, NM), and nearly 1,600 acres on California’s central coast (an area known as the Point Arena-Stornetta Public Lands).
Juliet Eilperin, writing in The Washington Post, notes that the move comes after the President vowed in his recent State of the Union speech “to protect more of our pristine federal lands for future generations.”
As is common when the federal government acts regarding access to land, the move does not please everyone. Ranchers, miners, and recreationists oppose the move, with the Organ Mountains-Desert Peaks designation proving to be particularly contentious. Eilperin notes: “Some law enforcement officials, such as Dona Ana County Sheriff Todd Garrison, have also said that the move would make it more difficult to monitor illegal activity near the Mexican border.”
On the opposite side, Eilperin quotes Dona Ana County Commissioner Billy G. Garrett as endorsing the national monument designation “because it will keep ‘the focus of growth’ within a limited corridor while leaving other parts of the county untouched.”
Eilperin highlights: “The Center for American Progress, whose chairman, John D. Podesta, joined the White House in January, issued a report showing that 7.3 million acres of federal land have been leased for oil and gas drilling as of December , while 2.9 million acres have been permanently protected.”
The Post article says Obama’s action would come under the terms of the 1906 Antiquities Act, which permits presidents to “set aside prized areas,” and adds that “no monuments have ever been repealed by subsequent presidents.”
NPG heartily applauds protection of open space for future generations. We hope that our elected officials will work together and enact a reasonable, responsible U.S. population policy that will reduce our nation’s size to a sustainable level – one that will enable us to preserve and protect our environment over the long-term.
SENATORS SESSIONS’ “TEN MYTHS” ABOUT AMNESTY
Few members of Congress have been more aggressive or on-target in working to turn back the rush towards comprehensive immigration reform than Senator Jeff Sessions (R – AL). Our nation started 2014 with word of a “big push” to get this legislation through Congress, with Republicans issuing a new “set of principles” that would guide their actions. We ended last week with Speaker Boehner saying immigration reform may be totally dead in the 113th Session, because too many in Congress don’t trust President Obama to enforce any new laws that might pass.
The key here is to keep alert. It would be shocking if the powers-that-be in Washington, who worked so hard to get this legislation through the Senate last year, are going to simply stand down or go into full retreat.
Whatever the future of immigration reform, NPG has high praise for Senator Sessions. Once again, he has taken a leadership role in derailing any foolhardy plans for Congress to advance legislation that contains an avenue for amnesty/citizenship. On the day of President Obama’s State of the Union speech, the Senator’s staff distributed a well-documented, 14-page Myth vs. Fact review of the amnesty issue. Sessions’ memo addressed 10 myths advanced by the open-border lobby. They were:
- Those who broke our immigration laws will not get any special path to citizenship;
- The plan is not amnesty because illegals will have to pay fines and back taxes, learn English, and pass background checks;
- The immigration-reform debate in Congress will be full and open;
- The majority of Americans support immigration reform;
- We need a guest-worker program to fill our labor shortages and take jobs America’s won’t do;
- Those granted legalization must be able to support themselves and will not get welfare;
- Immigration reform will help the economy;
- Border security will come first and no legalization can happen unless triggers have been implemented;
- Passing “immigration reform” and fixing the border will end illegal immigration;
- Congress will force [President] Obama to fully enforce the immigration reform bill if it passes it.
Clearly, these statements are ridiculous – and none of them are based on facts. Yet this is the “logic” that NPG, and our nation as a whole, is facing when it comes to immigration reform. We applaud Senator Sessions for putting forth these myths, so that American citizens and legislators can learn the truth about this proposed legislation.
From the time President George W. Bush launched the immigration debate more than a decade ago, NPG has been in the forefront of this battle. We will continue to lead the fight against those who want to ignore our nation’s laws – and especially those who seek to greatly increase our population by raising the number of legal immigrants we admit each year.
CHINA’S POLLUTED FARMLAND
Columnist Mike Shedlock, writing for TownHall.com in early January, spotlighted a growing worry about China’s agricultural policies.
In a column titled “8 Million Acres of China’s Farmland is Too Polluted to Farm; All Farm Products from China Suspect,” Shedlock describes how decades of rapid industrial growth are leading to widespread and costly pollution. This serious problem does not have a quick fix, and Shedlock questions whether Chinese officials are fully aware of the size of the toxic land. He notes: “China has been under pressure to improve its urban environment following a spate of pollution scares” – most notably its ever-increasing smog. He highlights: “…Cleaning up rural regions could be an even bigger challenge as the government tries to reverse damage done by years of urban and industrial encroachment and ensure food supplies for a growing population.”
The column states: “Wang Shiyuan, the vice-minister of land and resources, told a news briefing that China was determined to rectify the problem and had committed ‘tens of billions of yuan’ a year to pilot projects aimed at rehabilitating contaminated land and underground water supplies.” At present, no more planting will be allowed on the land areas identified as being polluted – about the same size as Belgium.
NPG has long contended that population growth and resulting development add to pollution and environmental damage. As the U.S. and world grow in size, such environmental problems will continue to emerge.
SPLITTING CALIFORNIA INTO SIX NEW STATES
If California loses its ranking as the nation’s most populous state any time in the near future, it won’t be because millions of people have moved out. It could actually result from a recent call to carve six new states out of the Golden State’s territory.
Written by Valerie Richardson, a recent front-page article in The Washington Times relates how Tim Draper, a multimillionaire Silicon Valley venture capitalist, is leading a drive that “allows the refresh we need.” And a California legislative analyst’s report recently declared the proposal “clearly legal and doable.”
Draper’s efforts are sparked by his belief that “California, as it is, is ungovernable. We need our state governments to be local to us.” His plan has widespread support throughout the state.
An effort to gather 1 million signatures to put the proposal on the ballot this November is currently underway. If passed by California voters, the U.S. Congress would also have to vote on it.
The six states that would result from the split would be: Jefferson (the upper-most part of the state), North California, Silicon Valley, Central California (“the valley”), West California (Los Angeles and some coastal areas), and Southern California (the lower coast and interior). Richardson points out: “California is so large – its population of 38 million exceeds that of No. 2 Texas by nearly 12 million – that none of the six states as proposed would rank lower than 44th in terms of population, according to the report’s estimates.” West California would have the most people, with its population about equal to Ohio. The new state of “Jefferson” would be more populous than Delaware, South Dakota, Alaska, North Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming.
It won’t be easy to carry out this project. However, if enough people are on board, it could find a fast-track. Richardson states: “The proposed amendment calls for an appointed board of commissioners to resolve the myriad issues involved, including the division of assets and liabilities and the establishment of final boundaries. If all goes as planned, the governor would submit the proposal to Congress on Jan. 1, 2018.”
Mr. Draper is quoted as stating: “support for the six-state concept is highest in Central California and Jefferson because ‘the existing system is not working for them.’”
The Times article highlights that: “The analysis also warns that any squabbles related to the division are likely to wind up in court and ‘persist for a long time.’” It notes: “Legal disputes between Virginia and West Virginia, for example, concerning the latter’s share of state debt lasted for about 50 years after West Virginia statehood.”
NPG sees California’s population growth as a root cause of its current problems – and this state is a window to our nation’s overall crisis of overpopulation. If we are to exist as a manageable America with an enjoyable quality of life, we must act now to slow, halt, and eventually reverse our population growth.
MICHIGAN CREATES AN “OFFICE FOR NEW AMERICANS”
America’s population growth is soaring – and a large part of that growth is due to lax enforcement of our nation’s immigration laws.
However, while many leaders in Washington are focused on creating new policies that will bring real reform to the system – and hopefully slowing down the rise in legal immigrants – some states are feeding, not fixing, the problem.
Governors have traditionally funded strong development offices that work to attract large companies, encouraging businesses to relocate to their state and create new jobs. Today, there’s a new move afoot to try the same marketing approach to welcome new immigrants.
In mid-January, Governor Rick Snyder announced the creation of an Office for New Americans. A press release from the Governor’s office notes the office “will help propel Michigan’s comeback by attracting and retaining highly skilled immigrants… Encouraging legal immigration will create more jobs for families and enhance the quality of life across Michigan.”
Governor Snyder has been a critic of what he has called a “dumb immigration system,” which sends immigrant students – who earn advanced degrees at U.S. universities and colleges – back to their home countries upon completion of their studies.
The Governor has received solid support for his action from the Michigan business community. Like the U.S. Chamber of Commerce – which is pushing for huge annual increases in the number of legal immigrants allowed in the U.S. – Michigan businesses seem totally focused on gaining more foreign high-tech workers. These immigrant workers will gladly work for lower wages than U.S. residents – gaining a foothold to eventually become full-fledged citizens – and will further add to the size of U.S. population.
NPG condemns the push by large corporations to rewrite our immigration laws to serve their own agendas, rather than our nation’s best interests. America needs a smaller, truly sustainable population size. We need a stronger interior visa tracking system, one that will ensure foreign students who come to study in the U.S. are departing on schedule. We need to secure our borders, enact a mandatory E-Verify system for all employers, and enforce our existing laws to dramatically reduce illegal immigration. We need to lower legal immigration levels to no more than 200,000 people per year.
Perhaps Governor Snyder would do better to invest his state’s tax dollars toward that end – an end that will preserve an enjoyable quality of life for Michigan’s citizens – instead of continuing to add to its population growth.
A GROWING POPULATION DILUTES INDIVIDUAL REPRESENTATION
Frosty Wooldridge, who has often echoed the NPG message, recently noted “a laser-sharp column in the Corvallis, Oregon Gazette-Times” by M. Boyd Wilcox. Wooldridge highlighted the following:
“The higher our population, the lesser one individual means in the mix of our civilization.
“…The original ratio (in Congress) was 1-30,000. Not only has our nation’s population increased over 270 times since the founding of the Republic… It would [now] take 8,700 members of the U.S. House to restore that original ratio.”
NPG commends Wilcox – and Wooldridge – for drawing more media attention to the serious challenges our nation faces due to population growth.
THE “OTHER” GROWING DAKOTA
It’s hard to miss the news stories about how the growth of fracking and the Bakken oil boom have brought unexpected growth to North Dakota.
However, The Argus Leader recently published a story demonstrating that South Dakota is also faced with the dilemma of a growing population.
The January story by J.L. Atyeo and Beth Wischmeyer highlighted that in 2013 “more than 3,000 people moved to Sioux Falls – and brought with them demands for housing, jobs and services.”
The reporters note that Sioux Falls is growing at a rate of 2-3 percent annually, and how that growth could mean adding “another 50 square miles to its footprint in the next 20 years….” The city currently has 162,300 people residing in “barely more than 74 square miles. Projections for 2035 indicate [Sioux Falls] will need… to accommodate an expected population of 272,000.”
In interviewing city planners and local residents, the authors noted that an expanding city will present many challenges to urban planners in the next two decades. The growth is concerning, especially when it comes to transportation, water and sewer services, and creating a livable environment – in the old parts of the city, as well as those on the newly-developed fringes.
It seems that even once-spacious cities like Sioux Falls are falling prey to U.S. population growth, as our nation continues its efforts to “grow” out of our economic and natural resource challenges.
THE PROBLEM WITH AMNESTY
The Heritage Foundation has served as a strong leader in the fight against comprehensive immigration reform on Capitol Hill in recent years. It has been extremely helpful in presenting critical facts and arguments against the open-border lobby’s push for eventual amnesty – amnesty that would mean eventual citizenship for the millions of illegal immigrants now living within our borders.
In a recent post on The Foundry, the Heritage news blog, Derrick Morgan stressed the problems with any amnesty-related legislation. We present part of his arguments:
“Why is amnesty such a problem? Because it is unfair, costly, and it will not work.
“It is unfair to those who come to the United States the right way – and it is unfair to those who are waiting patiently for their turn. A recent Pew poll of Hispanic (51 percent to 43 percent) and Asian Americans (48 percent to 44 percent) revealed that they, too, think ‘granting legal status to undocumented immigrants’ would ‘reward illegal behavior.’
“It is costly because those granted amnesty under the Senate bill that passed (S. 744) would qualify in time for the full menu of government welfare and entitlement programs that are already massively overburdened. Even if they were legalized through amnesty, currently illegal immigrants would pay far less in taxes than they would receive in government services and benefits, especially when they reach retirement age. As Milton Friedman noted, you cannot have both open borders and a welfare state. That is especially true in our day: Some two-thirds of federal spending today is for transfer payments (taking from some Americans and giving it to others), compared with just 3 percent in 1935.
“It also won’t work. The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office predicted that under S. 744, which supposedly had tough border security provisions and improved employer verifications, millions more net illegal immigrants would come and stay in the next two decades. Within a generation, we would find ourselves in this same position all over again, only in a worse financial situation – with taxpayers struggling to support these millions of immigrants.
“Amnesty isn’t the answer, but a good step-by-step approach would start with some reforms that have widespread appeal.”
NPG echoes these concerns in our commentary. We advocate for an approach to immigration reform that considers one issue at a time – an individual bill on each area in need of review – rather than this massive bill of over 1,000 pages. We promote enforcement of existing laws to curb illegal immigration, a dramatic decrease in legal immigration levels, and an end to chain-migration and “anchor baby” laws. NPG advocates a long-term solution to America’s immigration problem – and we insist on a solution that does not include increases to our nation’s population growth.
NPG “NO ANCHOR BABIES” PETITIONS SENT TO CONGRESS
One of the most important actions Congress can take in restructuring our nation’s immigration policies is to eliminate automatic U.S. citizenship for all individuals born in our country.
This outdated practice has led to a large spike in the number of “anchor babies,” and is being carried out under the present – and very broad – interpretation of the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. It is being greatly abused by illegal aliens currently living within our borders, and has fostered a growing industry of “birth tourism.” Under present interpretation of our immigration laws, regardless of how long – or how briefly – the mother has been in America, a child born within our borders is granted full U.S. citizenship. They can then depart the country and return later. At age 21, they can petition to bring in extended family members under current law.
An estimated 4 million current U.S. residents have received citizenship via our current anchor baby laws. It is estimated that more than 360,000 anchor babies are born each year to parents who are not U.S. citizens – that’s 13% of our nation’s annual population growth.
NPG has called on countless thousands of citizens in recent years to raise their voice against this destructive policy and sign “Change the Anchor Baby Policy” petitions – which we deliver directly to their U.S. Senators and Representative.
The petition reads:
Congress must immediately address automatic citizenship for anchor babies by passing H.R. 140 and concurrently working to advance a new Constitutional amendment that will clearly define the issue of birthright citizenship. Please do not cave into the pro-immigration and open-borders lobbies on this critical issue as we must resolve it soon to derail tens of millions more people from being added to our already soaring population through chain migration. Thank you.
If Congress lives up to its promise to act on real immigration reform, we are hopeful that this ongoing petition drive will help correct this problem and put an end to “birth tourism” and its resulting population growth.
NPG will soon be delivering signed petitions to almost every Capitol Hill office – we are especially thankful to all of our friends and members who participated in this effort. We encourage those who have not recently made their views on this issue known to Congress to contact their U.S. Senators and Representative and personally endorse swift debate on and passage of H.R. 140.
NPG 2014 SCHOLARSHIPS
ESSAY AND PHOTO COMPETITIONS
Getting America’s students engaged in the debate on population growth continues to be one of NPG’s top priorities. However, encouraging young people to find solutions fosters a much more powerful learning experience. That is why NPG sponsors our annual scholarship competitions.
This year, we are pleased to announce two contests where students can compete for scholarships ranging from $2,500 to $500. Multiple prizes will be awarded for both the annual Essay Contest and for this year’s new Photo Contest – for a total of $15,000 in awards.
Students are requested to submit an essay of between 500 and 750 words to:
Explain why the average American citizen — particularly our youngest generation — should become active in the cause to slow, halt, and eventually reverse U.S. population growth.
A new opportunity for 2014, students are asked to:
Submit your original photo of a threatened environmental treasure that you believe is worth protecting, along with an explanation (40-50 words) of how population growth has put this treasure at risk.
Both scholarship contests are open to high school seniors and currently-enrolled college undergraduates. Official rules and eligibility requirements can be found online at www.NPG.org.
We are pleased to promote and fund these scholarship opportunities as part of our Youth Outreach mission: to enlist a new generation of leaders who will work to slow, halt, and eventually reverse U.S. population growth.
“‘Get right with the law’ is the trendy new poll-tested slogan that’s supposed to make both amnesty-resistant Americans and illegal aliens accept whatever so-called immigration reform Congress considers. Alas, playing with words will not sell amnesty to Americans or non-amnesty to illegals.”
WHY THE NPG JOURNAL?
The NPG Journal (offered free to all recipients) exists to give more widespread distribution to timely news stories and articles related to population, immigration, environmental, and political issues that currently affect our daily life – or have the potential to seriously impact our future.
We realize not all news stories covering population issues will reflect NPG policies and goals. One of our main purposes in creating the NPG Journal is to expose these items to a wider audience, and to draw attention to the fact that many articles speak to immigration and population issues yet fail to address the central cause of many problems: U.S. population growth.
Ultimately, NPG would like to see writers at all levels make the obvious (to us, at least) connection between environmental and resource problems and the growing number of people in both the United States and the world. Unfortunately, most do not. To that end, we comment as necessary to help our readers see those links, in hopes they will continue to speak out on what we deem to be the most pressing issue of our time – population size and growth.
NPG President Donald Mann offers his personal insight and commentary on individual stories, especially those that challenge, confirm and/or complement our NPG Forum papers and research. The goal of the NPG Journal is to greatly expand NPG’s educational mission. NPG’s activities continue to emphasize the need for Americans to speak up on population issues and keep our nation – especially our elected leaders on the national, state, and local levels – focused on taking action to help resolve today’s immigration crisis and work to slow, halt, and eventually reverse America’s population growth.
We welcome your feedback to articles posted on the NPG Journal, and urge you to forward to us the e-mail addresses of friends you think would like to receive a complimentary copy of the NPG Journal on a monthly basis. Contact us at NPG@NPG.org.
Negative Population Growth, Inc. (NPG) is a national nonprofit membership organization with over 30,000 members. It was founded in 1972 to educate the American public and political leaders regarding the devastating effects of overpopulation on our environment, resources, and standard of living. We believe that our nation is already vastly overpopulated in terms of the long-range carrying capacity of its resources and environment.
World population, now over 7.3 billion, is predicted to rise to 9 billion by 2050, an increase of almost two billion, or 23%, in the short space of only 34 years from now.In the highly unlikely event that per capita greenhouse gas emissions could possibly be decreased by an equal percentage in such a short space of time (a blink of an eye) the total amount of worldwide emission would remain the same!
From this simple illustration it would appear that without drastically reducing the size of world population, there is no solution to the problem.None at all.So then why do our world leaders pretend that there is one?What is to be gained by pretending rather than by proposing a solution that would solve the problem – a reduction in the size of world population to not more than 1- 2 billion?
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