Immigration driving
higher energy use

By Jon Dougherty

A new study by an immigration-reform group says sustained high levels of immigration have caused one-third of the increase in energy usage in the U.S. over the past 25 years, making it harder to combat energy shortages and meet emissions-reduction goals.

The report, “Running in Place: Immigration and U.S. Energy Usage,” was published this month by the Federation for American Immigration Reform, or FAIR. Authored by Dr. Donald F. Anthrop, professor of environmental studies at San Jose State University and a former consultant to the California Energy Commission on energy conservation standards, the study concludes that potentially harmful energy emissions will remain high as long as immigration goes unchecked.

“If immigration levels continue at current rates, meeting the Kyoto Protocol emissions-reductions goals would require that per capita energy consumption in the year 2012 … be reduced by 28 percent from the 2000 level,” Anthrop said.

Such a dramatic change would require “major lifestyle changes for Americans” and cause “serious economic dislocations,” he added.

Also, the report noted that U.S. emission-reduction goals cannot be met unless “immigration-driven population growth” is curbed.

In his study, Anthrop says Europe’s exuberance for the Kyoto emissions-reduction goals “stems partly from the fact that the nations in Western Europe have an essentially stable population and will therefore be able to meet restrictions on carbon dioxide emissions much more easily than the U.S.,” giving European industry “a competitive advantage” over American competitors.

With that in mind, he said, “it is important to note that immigration is the principal reason the natural rate of increase of population is so much higher in the U.S. than in Europe.”

“The data show quite clearly that the United States will not be able to achieve any meaningful reductions in carbon dioxide emissions without serious economic and social consequences for American citizens, unless immigration is sharply curtailed,” Anthrop said. “Failure to address the immigration issue is only rendering the energy problem more intractable.”

“If the U.S. is forced to curtail carbon dioxide emissions, and I think we will ultimately be forced to take some steps in that direction, then unless immigration is curbed, I believe the average American citizen can look forward to a constantly declining standard of living,” he added.

Uncontrolled immigration has exacerbated the problem and will continue to make it worse, said Dan Stein, head of FAIR.

“If the U.S. is serious about reducing our dependence on foreign oil and protecting our environment, we must curtail the demand increase being produced by mass immigration,” Stein said.

Between 1974 and 2000, total legal immigration was 19.3 million. Since the U.S. population increase was 68.6 million during that same period, the report said, direct legal immigration accounted for 28.1 percent of that population increase.

In 2000, the U.S. Census Bureau estimated that 8.7 million people were in the United States illegally. “Thus,” the report said, “legal and illegal immigration together directly accounted for about 40 percent of population growth during this period.”

“By 2012 the U.S. population will have increased by 34.2 million residents, of whom 31 percent will be immigrants. How can any conceivable change in energy consumption rates compensate for such relentless population growth?” said the report.

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