Californians for Population Stabilization, a group that says it “works to formulate and advance policies and programs designed to stabilize the population of California, the U.S. and the world,” launched a nationwide advertising campaign ahead of Earth Day last week linking immigration to global warming.
“Immigrants produce four times more carbon emissions in the U.S. than in their home countries,” says an actor in a 30 second TV spot. “Immigration will drive a population increase equal to the entire American West in just 30 years,” he continues, while holding up a display of 18 states, including Texas and Louisiana.
“Reducing immigration won’t solve global warming, but it is part of the solution. We’ve got some tough choices to make,” the ad concludes.
While the argument – that the average U.S. resident’s lifestyle creates more carbon emissions due to a generally higher standard of living here as compared to countries people typically emigrate from, may be compelling, the numbers cited in the ad are misleading at best, FactCheck.org concludes.
FactCheck reports that the U.S. Census Bureau pegs the population of the 18 states in question at just over 111 million. And the report cited by the immigration control group, co-authored by Jeffrey Passel of the Pew Research Institute in 2008, does project that immigration would add 117 million people to the country’s population, 67 million immigrants themselves and another 50 million children and grandchildren of those arriving.
The report, however, projects figures from 2005 to 2050, a span of 45 years rather than the 30 claimed in the commercial.
“It makes a big difference,” Passel told FactCheck. “A lot of the additional population is children and grandchildren of the new arrivals.” He said that allowing 15 years less time for newly arrived immigrants to start families would lead to “a lot smaller” number.
Further, Passel notes that actual immigration numbers, in large part due to the economic recession, have been lower than projected in every one of the first seven years of the study. A new calculation today would likely lead to an even smaller impact.