The U.S. Census Bureau has estimated that the US population will reach 400 million by 2040. As the US increases in size, people begin to question whether we should take drastic measures as Japan has, reaching below-replacement birth levels and restricted immigration. The Pew Research Center reported that 82% of US population growth can be attributed to immigration.
Many are advocating stabilization of our population, which according to the rate of immigrants achieving permanent resident status, would mean drastically restricting our immigration policy. Will we reach our carrying capacity due to the major influx of immigrants? David Durham of Population-Environment Balance, an organization bent on slowing illegal immigration, says if we care about the environment at all, we should insist on reducing immigration, for there are “ecological realities such as limited potable water, topsoil and infrastructure”.
But this is not just an issue of environmental capacity. These policies surround an ethical battle of sorts- these immigrants have an origin, a home, and in a majority of cases have been forced to make the decision to leave.
The US did not open their borders during the Holocaust, and subsequently will have some blood on her hands for the rest of time. Can we repeat this mistake again?
Reference: West, L. (2010). Will the U.S. Be Forced to Close Its Borders to Protect the Environment?