Anti-Immigrant Organizations Try Environmental Spin

A recent article written on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC) Hatewatch blog goes after misleading claims made by two ads placed in The New York Times and The Nation.1  The ads were produced by an organization calling itself "America’s Leadership Team for Long Range Population-Immigration-Resource Planning."  The organization is actually a thinly-veiled coalition of anti-immigrant groups, including three— the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR), the American Immigration Control Foundation (AICF), and the Social Contract Press—that are SPLC-listed hate groups for “their links to white supremacists and publication of bigoted materials.”2

Regardless of the groups’ ties to white supremacists or to anti-immigrant leader John Tanton,3 the misinformation in the ads alone is cause for concern for those seeking a rational immigration debate based on facts. The Southern Poverty Law Center found:
The ads . . . cite statistics without fully explaining them: the Pew Hispanic Research Center does predict that 82% of the increase in U.S. population from 2005 to 2050 will result from immigration, but that figure includes the U.S.-born descendants of immigrants. And it doesn’t represent a departure from recent decades, during which immigrants have accounted for most of the country’s population growth.4
Both of the ads insinuate immigration is bad for the environment and one offers the dubious claim that “every four new residents” add “three more cars” to the nation’s roads. SPLC counters by saying:
[T]his premise is flawed because the transportation habits of immigrants are different from those of native-born Americans, according to professors at the University of California, Los Angeles.

David Hayes-Bautista, a professor of medicine and health services, co-authored a 2005 study that found recent Latino immigrants in California—and to a lesser extent long-term Latino immigrants and U.S.-born Latinos—are much more likely to carpool or use public transportation than non-Hispanic whites. “If everyone (in California) went to work the way recently arrived immigrants did—by carpooling or using public transportation—that would reduce the number of cars on the road by nearly half,” he told [SPLC’s] Intelligence Report.5
For a look at the ads, click on the images below.
1. One of the ads also appeared on the July 9, 2008 edition of The New Republic.
2. Sonia Scherr, "Anti-Immigrant Hate Groups Place Ads in The New York Times," Southern Poverty Law Center, Hatewatch Blog, June 27, 2008.
3. According to SPLC, "All five groups behind America's Leadership Team--the other two are Californians for Population Stabilization and NumbersUSA--are financed by John Tanton, the puppet master of the modern anti-immigration movement."
4. Scherr, supra note 2.
5. Id.

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