Friday, May 2, 2008

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors: The Environment

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors: The Environment is the second part of a special five part limited series on securing the border. Each day, concluding on Cinco de Mayo, we will post a special feature detailing a specific reason why we need a secure fence along the southern border of the United States.

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Open borders advocates are quick to denounce any efforts to build a secure barrier along the U.S. border with Mexico. They claim it would "disrupt the habitat of jaguars, pygmy owls and other sensitive fauna." But as we are about to see, the exact opposite is true. Not securing our border would have a far greater negative environmental impact.

Every year nearly one million immigrants enter the U.S. illegally across our border with Mexico. These illegal aliens bring with them supplies to survive the long trip across the often harsh desert. They discard trash from these supplies without any regard for the environment.
"It has been estimated that the average desert-walking immigrant leaves behind 8 pounds of trash during a journey that lasts one to three days if no major glitches occur," Davis writes. "Assuming half a million people cross the border illegally into Arizona annually, that translates to 2,000 tons of trash that migrants dump each year."

The trash left behind is often dumped in remote areas where it presents a significant danger to wildlife.
"Environmental degradation has become among the migration trend's most visible consequences," Rotstein writes. "A few years ago, there were 45 abandoned cars on the Buenos Aires refuge near Sasabe, and enough trash that a volunteer couple filled 723 large bags with 18,000 pounds of garbage over two months in 2002."

Litter is not the only negative environmental impact illegal immigrants are having.

In 1970, the Sierra Club was founded to "find, encourage, and implement at the earliest possible time the necessary policies... that will ...bring about the stabilization of the population, first of the United States and then of the world." Today, the single biggest event wreaking havoc on the environment in the U.S. is its explosive population growth.

Each year the U.S. population grows by roughly three million people. Two-thirds of which has been directly attributed to current immigration policies, both legal and illegal.

Already the United States has lost 90 percent of its northwestern old-growth forests, 50 percent of its wetlands (93 percent in California), and 99 percent of its tallgrass prairie.

Without strict immigration policies and enforcement the U.S. population will continue to explode. With an ever increasing population comes an increased depletion of natural resources, increased pollution, and less open spaces, which further leads to the extinctions of various species of animal and fauna.

Securing our southern border against illegal immigration is an imperative step in preserving our environment for future generations.

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