Immigrants Cause Climate Change? CAPS Ads Blame Carbon Emissions on Immigration


The recent ads being run on TV stations such as MSNBC by Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS), is yet another attempt by the racist, right-wing, anti-immigrant movement to take a "hot" issue (pun intended) such as climate change and turn it into "flaming" anti-immigrant rhetoric:

In this case, the good-looking guy with the concerned look on his face, seriously tells us that immigrants produce "four times more carbon emissions" than in their home countries.  Really, good-looking guy?  Apparently, when an immigrant crosses the border he or she will immediately join the ranks of the worst polluters in the world?

The so-called data that CAPS cites, comes from the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), which has well-known ties to white nationalists groups.  Clearly, the ads and their shody statistics are designed to further de-humanize and criminalize immigrants, and use us as a scape-goat for yet another national policy failure (remember the mortgage crisis?)

As we reported in our 2010 joint-paper on climate change and migration (see page 15), the "greening of hate" strategy lays the blame for all forms of environmental evil upon vulnerable communities already under enormous economic pressures, rather than on countries and corporations of the Global North who are disproportionately responsible for the majority of carbon emmissions and other pollutants.  In fact, while the US and Western Europe account for only 20% of the world's population, they emit 80% of the carbon into the atmosphere!  Why don't you use that in your fancy-schmancy show and tell, good-looking CAPS guy?

While the U.S. federal government continues to cave in to oil and gas companies, and the United Nations in turn gets co-opted by economically rich and powerful countries, what we get are more anti-immigrant rantings and false solutions.  What they would propose, for example, is to create a "carbon market" to further trade and barter the rights of immigrants, indigenous, and other forest-dwelling communities, allowing polluting countries like the U.S. and its multinational corporate entities to "green-wash" their polluting ways.

For a very good primer on this, checkout the Indigenous Environmental Network's (IEN's) reader on REDD -- Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation.  It describes how such policy proposals are in fact a cash-cow for forest destroyers, will cause further human rights abuses and does nothing to really reduce emissions nor mitigate climate change.

Instead, what we need to do as immigrant communities and the immigrants rights movement, is to build alliances with other climate justice movement allies nationally and internationally, prioritize sustainable community development policies for communities around the world, and challenge the predominant neoliberal global economy which has perpetrated the climate crisis in the first place.

Meanwhile at least, this past week we were entertained by the Colbert Report's commentary on the CAPS ads:

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Also have a look at what our friends at Center for New Community (CNC) did to spoof the ridiculous CAPS ads:

Take that, good-looking CAPS guy!