PFAW’s Right Wing Watch in Focus report, “Previewing the Right-Wing Playbook on Immigration Reform,” identified nine strategies employed by right-wing pundits and politicians to demonize immigrants and derail comprehensive reform. Among those strategies were to portray immigrants as criminals, invaders, and disease-carriers. It’s time to add a new category: blaming immigrants for environmental degradation.
At last month’s Conservative Political Action Conference, the anti-immigration Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) distributed a beautifully photographed report decrying the declining health of the Chesapeake Bay, blaming the failure of clean-up efforts on immigration, and slamming environmental groups for not joining FAIR’s anti-immigrant crusade.
If you find it confusing that FAIR, whose political allies are among the most far-right members of Congress, is professing deep concern for the environment, there’s a simple explanation. FAIR and its anti-immigration allies believe that appealing to environmentalists concerned about the impact of sprawl and other growth-related issues can be an effective wedge issue to divide progressives.
For more about the blame-immigrants-for-environmental problems strategy, and a progressive response, see this article by People For the American Way Senior Fellow Peter Montgomery on Alternet