Announcements

Final Immigration Environmental Impact Statement document is released

We are pleased to announce that the final Immigration Environmental Impact Statement is released. You can read the IEIS in four parts.

Alternatives Selected for EIS

Researchers today announced the alternatives they have selected for detailed analysis and comparison as part of the E.I.S. on U.S. immigration policy. The three main alternatives selected are the following: (1) an alternative based on 250,000 annual immigration into the U.S. (the “immigration reduction” alternative); (2) an alternative based on 1.25 million annual immigration into the U.S. (the “no action” alternative, grounded on the immigration policy status quo); and (3) an alternative based on 2.25 million annual immigration into the U.S. (the “expansive immigration” alternative).

Also released were initial population projections to 2100 and 2200 under the three alternatives. These initial projections show substantial U.S. population growth under all the alternatives, with substantially more occurring under higher immigration scenarios. The U.S. population grows by 70 million people over the course of the 21st century under the “reduced immigration” alternative, by 215 million people during this same period under the “no action” alternative, and by 360 million people under the “expansive immigration” alternative. This corresponds to a 23% population increase, a 70% population increase and a 117% population increase, respectively:

U.S. Population Projections to 2100 under Three Scenarios

Comparing differing ecological impacts under the three selected alternatives will be researchers’ main goal, as they continue work on the EIS. As previously described, this comparative analysis will focus on six key areas: urban sprawl and farmland loss; water demands and withdrawals from natural systems; greenhouse gas emissions and resultant climate change; habitat loss and impacts on biodiversity; energy demands and national security implications; and the international ecological impacts of U.S. immigration policies.

Click here to view the full report detailing how these alternatives were arrived at, the reasons for their selection, and population projections to 2100 and 2200 under the three selected alternatives.

Researchers Announce Population Projections

Researchers today announced the initial population projections to be used in the EIS on United States immigration policy. Among their findings: each additional 500,000 immigrants admitted annually into the U.S. will increase the 2100 U.S. population by approximately 71.5 million people.

Average annual net immigration

Population in 2010

Population in 2050

 

Population in 2100

 

Population in 2200

zero

309 million

358 million

343 million

299 million

500,000

309 million

380 million

415 million

479 million

1 million

309 million

403 million

486 million

688 million

1.5 million

309 million

426 million

560 million

919 million

2 million

309 million

449 million

629 million

1.168 billion

In addition to the demographic projections, researchers released a companion report on U.S. demographic history.

Click here to view the full report detailing the new U.S. population projections.

Click here to view the report on U.S. demographic history.

Population Growth Is a Stated Cause of Many Projects That Require Environmental Impact Statements
Initial Findings Reported

study authored by Winthrop Staples III for the EIS on U.S. Immigration Policy has investigated the hypothesis that population increase drives the need for many projects with significant environmental impacts, through an examination of the "needs and purposes listed in recent federal Environmental Impact Statements. Projects reviewed include transportation projects, energy projects, water projects, and new housing developments and schools. Initial findings are described under Draft EIS Documents.

Scoping Comments are in on the Immigration EIS

Progressives for Immigration Reform solicited public comments at the commencement of our Environmental Impact Statement on United States immigration policy. The initial comment or “scoping” period ran from August 1 through October 31, 2012.

The main policy decision to be evaluated in this EIS is the following: at what level should Congress set annual immigration into the United States? Suggestions regarding which environmental impacts to focus on and which specific alternatives to analyze in depth were particularly solicited, but comments regarding any aspect of the EIS or immigration policy were appreciatively received.

We received a little over two dozen formal comments on the EIS proposal. These are all reproduced here, unedited, followed by a response from the principle investigators.

We believe these comments are a valuable compendium showing how Americans today think about the relationship between immigration, population growth and the environment.

In a related effort, PFIR contacted approximately 3,000 environmental leaders around the country, including about 1,800 mid-level Sierra Club leaders at the state chapter and local group levels. A selection of the Sierra Club leaders comments regarding the EIS project can be found here.

We are grateful that so many of our fellow citizens (and even one commentator from Australia) took the time to review this project and provide criticism, encouragement, or suggestions for its improvement. Thanks to all who participated.

Although the formal scoping period is complete, please feel free to contact us with further ideas or comments. Check back in at this website in the coming weeks for a “scoping report” detailing what we learned through the scoping process, an announcement of the alternatives we have chosen for detailed analysis in the EIS, and preliminary population projections to 2050, 2100 and 2200 under different immigration scenarios.

Progressives to Launch an Environmental Impact Statement on U.S. Immigration Policy
Press Release
Progressives for Immigration Reform

 

On Friday, August 3, 2012, Progressives for Immigration Reform (PFIR) announced a major new project: an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on U.S. immigration policy. PFIR also unveiled the website for the new project, and invited public comments on the proper scope and parameters of the study.

In recent decades, American environmentalists have debated about whether or not to weigh in on U.S. immigration policy. Many environmentalists have wondered:

  • What roles immigration and population growth play in driving the problems environmentalists seek to solve?
  • Can these problems be solved without addressing immigration and immigration-driven population growth?
  • What are the policy choices with regard to immigration levels, and how can we choose fairly and wisely among them?

The main policy decision to be evaluated in the new EIS is what level Congress should set for annual immigration into the United States. Current legal immigration into the U.S. is now pproximately 950,000 people per year, while an average of 300,000 to 400,000 people immigrate illegally.

According to Dr. Philip Cafaro, a principal investigator in the study: “The EIS will identify a number of plausible alternative immigration scenarios, regarding how many immigrants to allow into the country annually. The study will also develop demographic projections specifying future U.S. populations, based on these different annual immigration rates.” This will be followed by detailed analyses examining the likely ecological impacts of different population sizes in areas such as; urban sprawl and farmland loss; water demands and withdrawals from natural systems; greenhouse gas emissions and resultant climate change; habitat loss and impacts on biodiversity; energy demands and national security implications; and the international ecological impacts of U.S. immigration policies.

“The EIS project aims to develop a thorough, objective analysis of the ecological impacts of U.S. immigration policy, so that policy decisions can be made in full knowledge of those impacts,” stated Leah Durant, Executive Director of PFIR.

PFIR hereby solicits public comment on the scope and methodology of this new Environmental Impact Statement on U.S. immigration policy. This initial “scoping” phase of the study will last through October 1.  More information can be found by visiting www.ImmigrationEIS.org.

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Scoping request seeking public comment on an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on United States immigration policy

Progressives for Immigration Reform (PFIR) seeks public comment on an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) on United States immigration policy. The main policy decision to be evaluated in this EIS is the following:

   * At what level should Congress set annual immigration into the United States?

Suggestions regarding which environmental impacts to focus on and which specific alternatives to analyze in depth are particularly solicited—although comments regarding any aspect of the EIS are welcome.

Plausible alternative immigration scenarios need to be identified, regarding how many immigrants to allow into the country annually. Currently, legal immigration into the United States is set at approximately 950,000 people per year, while an additional 300,000 to 400,000 people immigrate illegally. Legal immigration into the U.S. occurs under several dozen federally-mandated categories and programs, the most important of which are individual country quotas, the family reunification program, dedicated visas for both highly skilled and unskilled workers, temporary or permanent asylum for political refugees, and an annual “diversity” lottery providing additional immigration slots for underrepresented regions of the world.

For purposes of this analysis, 950,000 legal immigrants per year will represent the “no action” alternative (no change in current policy). Further alternatives, probably ranging both higher and lower than the current number, will then be developed for detailed comparison.  The analysis will compare different annual immigration levels without breaking these down into particular geographical or vocational categories, unless good reasons for doing otherwise come to light.

Next we will develop demographic projections specifying future U.S. populations, based on different annual immigration rates. A key question, still unresolved, is how far out to run these population projections, for purposes of comparing alternatives. Fifty years? One hundred years? Two hundred years? While good environmental stewardship may demand that we look “seven generations” into the future, regarding the impacts of our current actions, population projections become more speculative, the farther out they are projected.

This will be followed by detailed analyses examining the likely ecological impacts of different population sizes in six key areas:

* urban sprawl and farmland loss

* water demands and withdrawals from natural systems

* greenhouse gas emissions and resultant climate change

* habitat loss and impacts on biodiversity

* energy demands and national security implications

* and the international ecological impacts of U.S. immigration policies.

Further suggestions regarding ecological impacts that deserve extended analysis are welcome, as are comments on the relative importance of these ecological impacts, and the importance of ecological impacts compared to social or economic considerations. In the end, a number of plausible alternative immigration scenarios will be comprehensively compared, in order to clarify the ecological implications of choosing one or another of these demographic futures.

To comment on the proper scope and parameters of this study, please click here. Thank you for taking the time to share your views.

Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for United States immigration policy

Progressives for Immigration Reform

Notice of Intent to Prepare an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for United States immigration policy

RESPONSIBLE AGENCIES: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Department of Homeland Security), U.S. Congress, White House Council on Environmental Quality.

ACTION: Notice.

SUMMARY: Pursuant to section 102(2)(C) of the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, as implemented by the Council on Environmental Quality Regulations (40 CFR Parts 1500–1508), Progressives for Immigration Reform (PFIR) announces its intent to prepare an EIS to evaluate the potential environmental effects of U.S. immigration policy. PFIR acts in lieu of action by the agencies and departments legally responsible for evaluating the impacts of immigration and population policies likely to involve significant impacts to the national environment. Four decades of failure to assess the environmental impacts of these policies have proven the responsible agencies’ and departments’ determination to ignore their legal responsibilities in this area.

The EIS will examine the potential environmental impacts of current immigration policies and of a range of reasonable alternatives, with particular attention paid to annual immigration levels, and to the enforcement or non-enforcement of immigration laws. The EIS will determine what effects alternative immigration policies are likely to have on future population levels in the United States, and what effects future population levels would likely have in increasing or decreasing key environmental impacts to terrestrial and marine environments in the United States.

This is a programmatic EIS, designed to provide a comprehensive overview of the environmental impacts of U.S. immigration policy as a whole. Immigration policy, as set through Congressional legislation and executive implementation, fulfills a variety of national functions. These include ensuring an adequate supply of labor, while safeguarding labor conditions and wage levels for existing workers, increasing racial and ethnic diversity, rejuvenating American society through new ideas and perspectives, and increasing the numbers of domestic producers and consumers of goods, services and real estate. The EIS will include an evaluation of U.S. immigration policy’s direct, indirect, short-term, long-term, and cumulative environmental impacts.

The EIS will analyze the impacts of alternative annual immigration levels, including the current level (approximately 950,000 annually) and both higher and lower levels suggested in recently proposed Congressional legislation. PFIR seeks input from the public regarding which alternative immigration levels to evaluate. Because whether or not to enforce immigration laws is a contested issue in the United States today, the EIS also will consider the likely impacts of enforcing or not enforcing immigration laws, on future U.S. population numbers.

PFIR proposes to consider the likely ecological impacts of different future population sizes in six key areas: urban sprawl and farmland loss; water demands and withdrawals from natural systems; greenhouse gas emissions and resultant climate change; habitat loss and impacts on biodiversity; energy demands and national security implications; and the international ecological impacts of U.S. immigration policies. PFIR will also analyze the effects of immigration on domestic infrastructure and national security. As part of the scoping process, PFIR seeks public input on the relative importance of these and other areas of environmental concern, and suggestions regarding additional environmental impacts that should be evaluated.

DATES AND ADDRESSES: PFIR is initiating the scoping process to identify issues and concerns to be addressed in the EIS. The public scoping period will run from July 1, 2012 until October 1, 2012. Federal, state and local agencies, environmental organizations, businesses, other interested parties and the general public are encouraged to provide written comments identifying specific issues or topics of environmental concern that should be addressed in the EIS. PFIR will consider all comments received in determining the scope of the EIS. To provide comments or for further information, please visit the project website at: www.immigrationeis.org. Written comments (postmarked by October 1, 2012) can also be mailed to: Immigration EIS, Progressives for Immigration Reform, 1906 Bear Court, Fort Collins, CO 80525 USA.

COOPERATING AGENCIES AND ORGANIZATIONS: Fourteen federal agencies and departments will be invited to be cooperating agencies and provide input into the EIS. They are: Army Corps of Engineers (Department of Defense), Bureau of Land Management (Department of the Interior), Bureau of Reclamation (Department of the Interior), Department of Energy, Department of Labor, Department of State, Federal Aviation Administration (Department of Transportation), Federal Highway Administration (Department of Transportation), National Marine Fisheries Service (Department of Commerce), National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (Department of Commerce), National Park Service (Department of the Interior), Natural Resources Conservation Service (Department of Agriculture), U.S. Forest Service (Department of Agriculture). U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Department of the Interior). National, state and local environmental groups will also be invited to provide input into the EIS.

DATE: June 30, 2012

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