Immigration, Population, and the Environment: Experts Debate Impact of Current Policies

By CIS August 2009

Publications related to the panel:

WASHINGTON (August 25, 2009) - It is well-documented that current U.S. immigration policies will increase America’s population by about 100 million people over the next half-century. Past attempts to restructure the federal immigration program have often included debates on education, assimilation, health care, labor, and many other issues. But the environmental impact of immigration-driven population growth is usually missing from the discussion, despite the fact that environmental concerns are high on the Obama Administration’s priority list.

The Center for Immigration Studies sponsored a panel discussion on the environmental consequences of large-scale immigration, featuring speakers with a variety of views. The panel was held on Tuesday, August 25, at 9:30 a.m. in the Murrow Room of the National Press Club, 14th & F streets. The starting point for discussion was a paper entitled, "The Environmental Argument for Reducing Immigration to the United States," co-authored by one of the panelists, Professor Philip Cafaro.

Panelists included:

Philip Cafaro – Associate Professor of philosophy at Colorado State University, author of Thoreau's Living Ethics: Walden and the Pursuit of Virtue (2004), co-editor of the anthology Environmental Virtue Ethics (2005), and a former ranger with the U.S. National Park Service.

Andrew Light – Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress and Director of the Center for Global Ethics at George Mason University, author of 17 books on the issues of environmental policy and ethics, restoration ecology, urban ecology, and climate change.

Don Weeden – Executive Director of the Weeden Foundation and veteran of a nearly 25-year career in the international population and economic development field, serving in various field and management positions for Columbia University, International Planned Parenthood Federation, and others.

Moderator: Steven Camarota, Director of Research at the Center for Immigration Studies.