COMMENTARY: by NPG President Donald Mann
With Earth Day coming up in a matter of days, it will offer all of us a chance to look around and reflect on what our present world would be like if we hadn’t put the brakes on environmental destruction decades ago.
It wasn’t easy to tackle our nation’s environmental problems. Many tough decisions have had to be made in recent decades – some popular, others unpopular. Yet, we can definitely look around and see progress in so many areas and we should all use Earth Day 2011 to renew our commitment to do even more in the decades ahead to protect Mother Earth and all of her bounty.
Sadly, one area where we still cannot report much improvement is in putting the brakes on world and U.S. population growth. Both continue to feed our environmental problems and, if left unrestrained, will destroy the quality of life for future generations.
The challenge to get control of America’s skyrocketing population problems, alert our fellow citizens to their devastating consequences, advance responsible solutions, and force our elected leaders to forcefully confront the population and immigration issues, has been the driving force behind NPG’s activities for 39 years. As we prepare to celebrate our 40th Anniversary next year, we can take great pride in the fact that thousands of Americans have worked with us through the years to keep population and immigration issues in the forefront of national debate.
Yet our job and our challenges keep growing – due in large part to the giant influx of millions of legal and illegal immigrants in recent years.
Indeed, the myriad topics that fuel our activism seem to grow larger each month.
Heading the list is the ongoing battle against illegal immigration which has been heightened in recent months thanks to legislation introduced in the 112th Congress to address such critical issues as anchor babies, chain migration, work visas and sanctuary cities.
We’re also faced with aggressive actions on the part of state legislatures that have stoked the fires on new issues such as Arizona getting tough on illegals while Utah is looking to do an end-run around federal immigration rules. And newly-resurrected issues, such as revived debate over in-state tuition and non-citizen voting, are finding their way into today’s headlines.
In addition, the potential for a big push by the Obama administration for passage of amnesty/citizenship legislation – or at least the DREAM Act which is essentially a foot in the door for citizenship for millions of illegals – still looms on the horizon.
National debate on Social Security for illegals, the deportation of illegals who have committed crimes, and mandating the E-Verify system for employers all demand NPG’s attention.
That’s all in addition to the population and societal issues of national security, environmental destruction, immigrant assimilation, traffic, overcrowded schools and hospitals, and water and energy shortages.
The bottom line is that never before has it been more important to keep NPG’s numbers strong and recruit even more like-minded Americans to work with us.
As I noted above, a new Earth Day provides us all with the opportunity to recommit to our mission. Without question, our agenda is demanding and our budget is tight. We very much appreciate your continued support for NPG’s mission
POPULATION AND NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS
Not so long ago, there was a time in America when the NIMBY (Not In My Back Yard) crowd condemned any and all nuclear power plants and pretty much brought a halt to new construction of facilities throughout the land. After all, who wants to live near one? Today, the nuclear tragedy that is playing out in Japan has once again put the issue in the national spotlight.
That’s the basis of the story reported by Bill Dedman, an investigative reporter for MSNBC.
Dedman reports that: “A new map of data from the 2010 U.S. Census shows that the number of people living within the 10-mile emergency planning zones around nuclear plants rose by 17 percent in the past decade, compared with an overall increase of less than 10 percent in the U.S. population.”
He takes that surprising figure to an even higher level in stating that: “If the circles on the map are widened to a 50-mile radius (the same evacuation area that U.S. nuclear officials recommended for Americans living near Japan’s troubled Fukushima Daiichi reactors), they would cover one in three people in the U.S.”
The Dedman story, available online at www.msnbc.com, comes complete with maps and is an interesting read. He notes that the population rise near the nuclear plants can be attributed to “normal population expansion, with previously unoccupied areas being filled in.” He also focuses on the fact that nuclear reactors are typically built on waterfront property, which is greater demand. Follow this link to the full story
IS THE “UTAH SOLUTION” THE ANSWER? LET’S HOPE NOT.
The story about what is going on in Utah, related to that state forging new ground on immigration issues and setting forth laws that essentially create new immigration policies (which up until now have been the purview of the federal government), is indeed complicated.
It involves Governor Gary Herbert recently signing into law four immigration reform bills which “officially mark Utah’s attempt to pioneer a path on the hot-button issue [of immigration] by challenging federal sovereignty through the authorization of guest-worker permits.”
The highly controversial measure will surely be challenged as to its constitutionality, yet as late as last week it was reported that the Justice Department was not ready to rush to court to sue the state on such grounds. Many people are scratching their heads over the fact that a state as conservative as Utah has found common ground with the Obama Justice Department on an immigration issue. There is no telling how this will all play out.
NPG has said it before, and we will say it again: immigration is a federal issue, not one to be decided by the states. We simply cannot have a mishmash of state policies dictating how illegals are handled in this country. Unfortunately, our Federal government has been so lax in enforcing existing laws that some states have taken the matter into their own hands. The other extreme, of course, is that a state like Utah is creating a welcoming environment. Immigration law must be enforced at the Federal level or the millions of illegals now residing in our nation will simply skip from one place to the next to avoid arrest.
This entire issue, complete with explanations of what the four bills entail, is summed up very well in an article recently published in The Salt Lake Tribune by David Montero. We urge interested NPG members to read it. Click here…
THE POLITICS OF A CENSUS “UNDERCOUNT”
It happens almost every 10 years – officials in cities and counties look at the final U.S. Census numbers and scratch their heads wondering, “How can that be?”
In New York, which gained population but lost more political clout in Congress due to the national re-distribution of the 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives, some officials are incensed at the final population numbers and are seeking answers to what went wrong.
A recent article in the Florida Courier raises the question, “Did Black Americans participate fully in the census?” The story, by Cyril Josh Barker, highlights the fact that while there was an extensive effort to increase minority participation in the census across the nation, it may have fallen short. He notes a Pew Research Center study which found that “one in five people may not have filled out their census forms, citing that many Americans either had a lack of interest or did not trust the government.”
Barker goes on to state (though it is unclear whether this information is based on the Pew study) that: “In 2010, 12 percent of U.S. residents said that they weren’t sure if they would participate in the census, and 6 percent said they definitely were not filling it out. One-third of people believed the census was a device by the government to locate illegal immigrants, while one-quarter simply didn’t trust the government or had privacy concerns.”
Surprisingly, low population increases for the boroughs of Queens and Brooklyn have prompted many local elected leaders to raise charges of an undercount. Both areas have a high concentration of immigrants.
Of course, as with the 2010 census numbers being the baseline figure for federal and state dollars flowing into communities, money stands as a key factor in driving efforts to make sure no area comes up short. Read the entire news article at: Florida Courier
GOING GREEN IN D.C.
It’s Earth Day week and even more Americans are focused on being green than during the St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in mid-March.
And while there are plenty of stories of how Americans constantly find new avenues to channel their love of Mother Earth, the story about an activist group in Washington, D.C. is worth reporting on, as it can be copied in cities of any size throughout the nation.
In an article written for The Georgetowner, reporter Samantha Hungerford relates how DC Live Green got its start:
“Five years ago, amid the fragrant scents of vegan and vegetarian dishes at Jave Green, a few loyal patrons of the restaurant began to talk. Many of them were environmentalists and the topic on their menu was green business. The goal was to make green living accessible for all D.C. locals.”
“Steve Ma, a DC resident who has been doing environmental work for the past 21 years, was one of those patrons. ‘The owner [of Java Green], D.J. Kim, had this vision of a greener world,’ Ma said. ‘He said, we need to have more green businesses, more green people. We need to be living in green places, working in green places, and we should start a group to do that.’”
Ma took that vision to heart. From those conversations the idea for DC Green, an online organization designed to make green living simple, was born.
“Since its launch in 2008, the site’s mailing list has swelled from about 1,000 to 26,000 subscribers, and the organization has partnered with more than 75 green businesses throughout DC, from cleaning services to yoga studios…
…Through its website, LiveGreen.net, DC Live Green works as a tool for residents to help them find affordable, quality services that are also eco-friendly. For $13 a year, members are given discounts to many of the businesses the organization sponsors.”
In recognition of its fast-paced growth and success, DC Live Green earned the Environmental Excellence Award from Mayor Adrian Fenty and its future is very bright.
At the end of her article, Hungerford captured Ma’s long-term goals in his statement: “When you can find those things that are not only easy, but also impactful and very affordable, I feel like that is where we can spread this movement to millions, to the masses, to all of us. And that’s ultimately our mission. We want to grow a thriving green economy and transform this struggling, unsustainable economy to one that’s doing very, very well.”
To carry his theme to his daily life, Steve Ma presently holds the title of Founder, Board President and GEO (Green Executive Officer).
THE DROUGHT OF 2011
Headlines related to an exceptional number of fires in Texas in recent weeks have their roots in that pesky LaNina which has plagued America’s weather pattern for years. Paul Yeager of AOL online relates that LaNina is triggered by a cooling off of sea-surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific. One of its most common effects in the winter and spring is that much of the Southern U.S. experiences dry conditions due to a less-active-than-normal southern storm track.
Yeager states that the National Interagency Fire Center reports that “more than 900,000 acres have burned so far this year, which is roughly one-third more than the 10-year average.” He goes on to note that: “…precipitation amounts since the fall have been below normal. Southern New Mexico, as well as western and southern Texas, has had less than 25 percent of average precipitation since October. This translates to less than 2 inches of total rainfall in nearly half a year for some locations.”
The prospects for a long-term drought for this section of the country are presently rated “extreme to exceptional.”
In commenting on the worsening drought conditions across the nation’s southern area, it should be noted that LaNina also was a contributing factor for some good news. Yeager writes: “Winter storms tracked far enough to the south along the West Coast to bring an abundance of rain and mountain snow to California, including the southern part of the state.”
POPULATION AND IMMIGRATION NEWS
TACKLING THE ISSUE OF SANCTUARY CITIES
H.R. 1134, a new bill recently introduced in Congress by Congressman Duncan Hunter (R, CA), will go a long way toward knocking down some of the current political barriers that work in favor of illegal immigrants and impede federal authorities in their efforts to follow through on enforcing our nation’s immigration laws.
The Enforce the Law for Sanctuary Cities Act would cut off some federal law enforcement funding to those cities and counties with “sanctuary” policies that restrict communication by local law enforcement with federal agents about an individual’s immigration status or that prohibit state or local officials from gathering information regarding an individual’s immigration status.
NPG has long advocated that such politically-inspired sanctuary policies have no standing and it is our contention that federal agents should not have to respect them at all! Passing this legislation would send a clear message that cities and communities have to make the choice – protect the illegals or lose the federal dollars you need to protect all of your citizens.
IMMIGRATION COURT BACKLOG
Fox News Latino reported recently that the number of cases pending before U.S. Immigration courts reached a record high by the end of last December.
Citing the Transactional Records Access Clearinghouse (TRAC), a non-partisan research organization affiliated with Syracuse University, there were roughly 268,000 cases awaiting resolution at the end of 2010. The case backlog was 44 percent higher than it was in 2008.
According to TRAC, the average time these cases had been pending was 467 days. California led states with the longest wait time – 639 days, followed by Massachusetts with 615 and Nebraska with 511 days.
A MEETING OF THE MINDS ON IMMIGRATION
The following excerpt is taken from the FOX news program The O’Reilly Factor from April 7, 2011. Host Bill O’Reilly and FOX Business commentator Lou Dobbs are discussing efforts to cut the federal deficit and the release of a new survey by the Center for Immigration Studies that says that 57 percent of immigrants in America, both legal and illegal, use at least one welfare program:
O’REILLY: “On the illegal immigration front, you know, people are outraged. We’re broke. We don’t have any money. I’m paying a lot in taxes. Illegal aliens sneak in here, got their kids and they’re on the welfare program. There isn’t anything to stop them from being on the welfare program is there?”
DOBBS: “Nothing at all…There has been a concentrated effort not to enforce immigration law. Therefore what you are watching are employers exploiting illegal labor and the taxpayer is paying for the support services.”
PLEASE RETURN YOUR 2011 NPG MEMBER QUESTIONNAIRE
Our 2011 NPG Member Questionnaires will be arriving in member mailboxes across the country this week and we strongly urge you to complete and return it as soon as possible – hopefully with a generous contribution. We are taking on this project earlier than usual this year due to the extensive variety of immigration-related issues that need to be addressed by NPG. Member input helps ensure that we are giving full attention to the topics that are most important. We pledge that your individual answers will remain strictly confidential. Finally, don’t forget to also answer the "optional" questions at the end of the survey as they help us better target our polling, research, membership recruitment and grassroots efforts. Thank you.
NPG’S 2011 SCHOLARSHIP COMPETITION
There’s been a real flurry of activity as students from around the country have gone down to the deadline (April 22) to submit their essays for our 2011 NPG Scholarship competition. We very much welcome their interest.
With hundreds of essays already in-hand it will be interesting to review the ideas of today’s younger generation as to how we can best convince the freshman legislators in the 112th Congress to work with NPG to confront and resolve today’s population crisis.
Six prizes ranging from $2,000 to $500 are at stake. Winners will be announced this summer.
The topic for the 2012 NPG Scholarships will be revealed in January of next year.
HAVE YOU CLAIMED YOUR 2011 NPG STUDENT POSTER?
We’ve already sent hundreds of our new 2011 NPG Student posters to teachers and NPG members throughout the country but we still have hundreds to distribute. If you haven’t requested a poster yet (or if you would like additional copies) please contact us. We count on members to help us spread our message and educate the public on population issues and many members take the initiative to make sure our posters are displayed in local libraries and community centers.
This year’s poster is filled with just-released 2010 U.S. Census numbers as well as new population facts and graphs. Its text presents a concise, yet instructional contrast between our current world and what tomorrow may look like if we fail to slow, halt and reverse today’s soaring population numbers. Pictures of state flags and updates on 2010’s state population numbers, along with population projections for 2030, fill the poster’s border. The entire poster measures 25x38 inches.
“Instead of functioning as an impartial referee in the national conversation about controversial issues, the New York Times has become a cheerleader, an advocate, even a combatant, some critics have argued. Rather than maintain professional detachment and objectivity, the paper has embraced activism. Rather than foster true intellectual and ideological diversity, the paper has become the victim of insular group-think, turning into a tattered symbol of liberal orthodoxy that is increasingly out of touch. And rather than let the chips fall where they may no matter who is embarrassed or shamed by their reporting, the paper’s news sections have been shaded by fear of offending certain groups and favoritism toward certain causes...One of the areas where these trends are most apparent is in the coverage of immigration.”
“Immigration and The New York Times”
a new Backgrounder from
the Center for Immigration Studies
“Around the world, governments or individuals have been learning to limit reproduction to enhance their well-being. The problem is, not that we were all blind, but that the problem has outrun the efforts to avoid it.
I cannot make the same claim for the United States Government. Even while the evidence has mounted that the country – and the world – must reverse population growth, it has retreated into a shell and refused to address the problem. It can perhaps claim that it is constrained by political and religious groups, but is the role of government simply to find the least common denominator? Is there no role for leadership?”
NPG’s Newest Forum Paper
“The Apocalypse Is On Schedule”
“Leave it to National Geographic to make a guy feel really old. In its January issue with a cover story about world population reaching 7 billion later this year, it was pointed out that before the 20th century no humans had lived through a doubling of population. ‘But there are people alive today who have seen it triple,’ the article said. That’s me, born in 1931, when world population stood at about 2 billion.”
William B. Dickinson