Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Letters

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Letters

Article excerpt

The Immigration and Population Link

Carl Pope's Opinion page assessment, "Sierra Club: Birth Control, Not Border Patrol," (May 7), on the vote by Sierra Club members not to endorse immigration reduction in order to stop United States population growth, is glib but disingenuous.

The vote amounts to a de facto endorsement of rapid, unending US population growth - now nearly 3 million a year - and its inevitable environmental consequences for this country's environment and the world's. Well-meaning idealists and "globalists" within the Club assert that migration across borders decreases when family planning needs, maternal and infant health care, empowerment of women, human rights, and various other conditions are met. Fine. All sides in this debate agree those are worthy goals and should be pursued for their own sake. But as a former Peace Corps volunteer, I would caution those who may be inclined to exaggerate the potential leverage, for good or ill, of US foreign policy in these matters. Efforts to involve ourselves in the sensitive reproductive policies and decisions of foreign countries and cultures invariably invite charges or at least suspicion of interventionism and genocide. Thanks in part to decades of efforts by population and family planning activists, the world's average total fertility rate has declined 40 percent over the last 45 years. But has immigration to the US diminished in tandem with declining global birth rates and unprecedented economic growth in many developing countries? Not by a longshot. In fact, over this same period total immigration has quadrupled, and now accounts for 60 percent of annual US population growth. Unfortunately, the Sierra Club has chosen to substitute wishful thinking for a more comprehensive, effective population policy. Leon Kolankiewicz Washington Vice President and Network Coordinator Carrying Capacity Network Sierra Club member Not all skinheads are created equal I have one small problem with "Hard Times Help Hard Right in East Germany" (May 4), regarding the neo-Nazi skinheads. …

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