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Environmental Ethics

Volume 31, Issue 1, Spring 2009

Philip Cafaro, Winthrop Staples III
Pages 5-30
DOI: 10.5840/enviroethics20093113

The Environmental Argument for Reducing Immigration into the United States

A serious commitment to environmentalism entails ending America’s population growth and hence a more restrictive immigration policy. The need to limit immigration necessarily follows when we combine a clear statement of our main environmental goals—living sustainably and sharing the landscape generously with nonhuman beings—with uncontroversial accounts of our current demographic trajectory and of the negative environmental effects of U.S. population growth, nationally and globally. Standard arguments for the immigration status quo or for an even more permissive immigration policy are without merit. Americans must choose between allowing continued high levels of immigration and creating a sustainable society.