The Massachusetts Coalition for Immigration Control (MCIR) claims that President Biden's border policies, which allow record-breaking mass migrations, are negatively impacting the environment. The group has filed a lawsuit against the Department of Homeland Security, State Department, and Department of Justice, saying that the government is out of compliance with the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), which requires an environmental impact analysis on Biden administration policies prior to implementation.
MCIR is being represented by the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), an independent think tank that conducts analysis of economic, social and other various impacts of immigration in the U.S. Two cattle ranchers along the southern border and four individual environmentalists are also named as plaintiffs.
A federal judge has ruled that the lawsuit may proceed.
The National Environmental Policy Act specifically mentions "the profound influences of population growth" on the natural environment. Because immigration policy is projected to account for nearly all future U.S. population growth, it would seem to be precisely the type of policy Congress intended to be reviewed under the Act.
In 2016, Progressives for Immigration Reform published an Environmental Impact Statement that looked at the population impact of three different immigration scenarios.
In the "No Action" scenario (i.e. the immigration system is left on autopilot), the U.S. population would expand to 524 million in 2100, an increase of 215 million (70 percent) over the 2010 population of 309 million. Because the United States is a wealthy, high-consumption country, the environmental impact of 524 million Americans would be significant for the country and the world.
Or, more simply:
The authors of the Environmental Impact Statement conclude:
In general, the No Action Alternative (1.25 million annual immigration) and the Expansion Alternative (2.25 million annual immigration) would result in significant, long-term, widespread adverse environmental impacts on all resource topics analyzed. The Expansion Alternative in particular would result in major, highly adverse environmental impacts on a number of resources, even taking enhanced conservation and efficiency measures into account. The Reduction Alternative would still entail higher environmental impacts than at present, but much less than the other two alternatives."
Since the 2016 Environmental Impact Statement was published, the COVID-19 pandemic led to a temporary reduction in annual immigration, followed by a record surge in illegal immigration after the Biden administration scaled back or halted multiple enforcement efforts - many of which are the subject of the NEPA lawsuit.
Our amended complaint alleged that the Biden administration's failure to do any environmental analysis before implementing the immigration policies that created the crisis at the border violated NEPA....
"....NEPA requires that federal agencies conduct environmental analysis and solicit public input before carrying out policies that "significantly impact the human environment". These policies were implemented unilaterally by the Biden administration and have led to millions of foreign nationals entering and settling in the United States. They are the quintessential type of actions that NEPA, which was passed out of a concern for population growth, seeks to address."
The judge's ruling is a positive development. Ultimately, it is Congress that must reduce immigration to a more responsible level.
JEREMY BECK is a V.P., Deputy Director for NumbersUSA
Updated: Tue, Sep 27th 2022 @ 1:59pm EDT