Deputy Directors Corner

Deputy Director’s Corner
NPG Deputy Director Tracy Canada can be reached by email at tcanada@npg.org.

In the past month, there seems to have been a flurry of activity in Congress surrounding immigration and population issues. Thankfully, not all of the action has been a blow to those of us concerned with U.S. population growth!

On March 14th, U.S. Representative Raul Labrador (R-ID) introduced H.R. 4731, the “Refugee Program Integrity Restoration Act of 2016” – which would bring some much-needed reform to our nation’s refugee program. The most important population-related aspects of the bill would:

  • Prohibit any President from unilaterally increasing the number of refugees admitted to the U.S. Instead, he or she would need Congressional approval for any increases above the annual caps set by law;
  • Require the termination of refugee status of any alien found to be ineligible for the program (currently, it is just a possible result);
  • Require the termination of refugee status of any alien who returns to the country from which he or she claimed persecution when conditions there have not changed;
  • Limit the Secretary of Homeland Security’s authority to allow entry of aliens who are inadmissible under law. (Currently, the Secretary can allow even known criminals to enter the U.S.) The bill would limit the Secretary’s waiver privileges only to grounds of health;
  • Increase the wait time from when an alien is granted refugee status until he or she receives lawful resident alien status from 1 year to 3 years – and during this period, refugee status may be terminated at any time if the alien is found to be ineligible or in violation of the program’s requirements;
  • Require that refugees who are denied adjustment to lawful resident status return to DHS custody every 5 years – likely for removal from the U.S.;
  • Prohibit the resettlement of refugees in any jurisdiction that opposes it – anywhere voters and/or elected officials have taken action disapproving resettlement; and
  • Exclude from refugee status any individual fleeing “generalized” violence. Instead, the bill would require the alien is a specific, individual target of violence on the sole basis of his or her “race, religion, nationality, political opinion, or membership in a particular social group.”

This bill is a positive step in the right direction when it comes to some population-increasing consequences of our current refugee program, and NPG agrees that reforms such as these are long overdue. (Note: be on the lookout for an all-new Forum paper on the current refugee crisis and its potential consequences for U.S. population growth, which is coming from NPG in the months ahead.)

Most importantly, NPG feels the bill provides real incentive for the implementation of an official U.S. population policy. We must stand together and demand that our elected officials oppose more and more immigration-driven population growth. (For more information, see NPG’s Proposed National Population Policy.)

Only by adopting an official national population policy can we preserve our nation’s environment, economy, natural resources, and quality of life for future generations.

Just days after Rep. Labrador introduced hi bill, the U.S. House voted to submit an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in the case of United States v. Texas. The brief will challenge President Obama’s highly controversial DAPA program, highlighting that the vast majority of our nation’s House of Representatives stands in opposition to the President’s executive overreach on immigration. The filing is an unprecedented step, and demonstrates the sheer outrage of our nation’s elected officials regarding the accommodation of more and more illegal aliens.

I only hope more concerned American citizens will follow their example. We must all stand up and demand real solutions to our nation’s population and immigration crises – while there is still time to change the course of our nation’s future. I was pleased to recently receive an email from a longtime NPG member whose position on population issues was published in the current issue of Free Inquiry magazine. I also ran across an Opinion letter in The New York Times, which criticized a recent article’s omission of population growth as a key component in the destruction of biodiversity.” This summer, NPG will be publishing a new Forum paper on biodiversity loss – and the specific negative impact of U.S. population growth on animal and plant life. By submitting letters of concern to publications like these, YOU CAN HELP us reach more Americans with our critical message.

It is only when our elected leaders, organizations like NPG, and brave citizen activists like you all stand together that we can accomplish real change. We must not stop in our efforts – and we must continue to move forward in the fight to slow, halt, and eventually reverse U.S. population growth!

Tracy Henke

Tracy Henke served as Deputy Director of NPG from 2012 to 2017, contributing to the structure and development of NPG’s publications programs. Acting as NPG’s principal editor and a contributing author – as well as a regular contact for the public and media, Tracy extensively researched U.S. population issues and worked to establish significant grassroots support for the NPG mission. She holds a degree in Leadership & Social Change from Virginia Tech, with a professional background in non-profit and program management.

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