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Group Says California Immigration Policies Contributed To Drought

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Group Says California Immigration Policies Contributed To Drought

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By Kate Linthicum, Los Angeles Times (TNS)

LOS ANGELES — In a television commercial that has aired across the state, a young boy asks: “If Californians are having fewer children, why isn’t there enough water?”

The ad is part of a wider media campaign blaming California’s historic drought on the state’s large number of immigrants. The group that paid for it, Californians for Population Stabilization, has long called for stricter enforcement of immigration laws, arguing that the state’s natural resources cannot sustain high levels of population growth.

The group has used the recent spotlight on California’s dwindling water reserves to try to gain support for its many favored causes, which include ending the right to citizenship for every child born on U.S. soil and opposing state efforts to give immigrants in the country illegally access to Medicaid.

This month, CAPS asked its 128,000 Facebook followers to “‘Like’ if you agree California’s drought could have been prevented with responsible immigration policies and limited population growth.”

Last month New Jersey Star-Ledger columnist Paul Mulshine said analysts were overlooking the root causes of the drought — that while immigrants to California “may be nice people … they’re competing for water resources.”

In an article in the National Review, Stanford academic Victor Davis Hanson argued that while California’s current dry spell is not novel: “What is new is that the state has never had 40 million residents during a drought — well over 10 million more than during the last dry spell in the early 1990s.”

Hanson and others point to the recent pattern of population growth in California, where census data show that 1 in 4 residents was born outside the country.

As domestic immigration into California has slowed in recent decades, with more American-born citizens leaving the state than moving in, foreign immigration has continued, albeit at slower rates than in previous decades.

The state continues to add about 3 million to 4 million people each decade, census data show. A large percentage of them are immigrants or their children.

“Essentially all of California’s rapid population growth has been due to people from other countries and the children of immigrants,” said Ben Zuckerman, an astrophysics professor at UCLA who sits on the board of CAPS. “The larger the population of California, the more difficult it will be to deal with the effects of the drought.”

Some drought experts have taken issue with such claims, pointing out that the majority of the state’s water supports agriculture.

Blaming the drought on immigrants “doesn’t fit the facts,” said William Patzert, a climatologist from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The drought is caused by meager snowpack and poor planning, he said, “not because the immigrants are drinking too much water or taking too many showers.”

Others point out that many immigrants likely use less water than the average California resident because they tend to live in multi-family dwellings, not higher-consuming single-family homes.

“It’s unlikely that the ‘burden’ of immigrants is very significant,” said Stephanie Pincetl, professor in residence at the Institute of the Environment and Sustainability at UCLA.

She said Californians would be better served by tearing up their lawns than expelling immigrants who contribute to the economy. “Do we want to have economic decline?” Pincetl said. “Do we not want to have agriculture? Do we want to not have housekeepers?”

Groups such as CAPS say recent conservation efforts, including Gov. Jerry Brown’s mandate of a 25 percent reduction in urban water usage, are short-sighted and hypocritical, especially given recent immigrant-friendly measures backed by Brown and the Democratic-controlled Legislature.

“You can’t have that proclamation at the same time you’re inviting everybody from everywhere to come here,” said Jo Wideman, executive director of CAPS.

Her group fought efforts to create special California driver’s licenses for immigrants in the country illegally as well as state legislation that limits when local law enforcement can collaborate with federal immigration authorities.

It also opposes increases in the levels of legal immigration, waging media campaigns against federal attempts to raise the number of available work visas.

Photo: Too many immigrant children are to blame for the drought, says one California group. San Jose Library via Flickr

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24 Comments

  1. Dominick Vila May 28, 2015

    When everything else fails, blame those who do not have a voice. The drought affecting California and a few other Western states is caused by climatic changes and, to some degree, potable water mismanagement and refusal to invest in desalination plants and conservation efforts.

    Reply
    1. Sand_Cat May 28, 2015

      It’s caused by the fact that southern California is and always has been a desert that could only “bloom” through the massive overuse of water, pretty much guaranteeing massive waste as well.

      Reply
      1. Dominick Vila May 28, 2015

        I lived in Barstow, Mojave Desert, for 9 years and it was definitely very dry. That was not the case in Northern California though.

        Reply
        1. Sand_Cat May 28, 2015

          I haven’t followed this as closely as you may have – too much other depressing news – but isn’t the main problem in southern California? And if not, the south is probably sucking all it can get from whatever source, including those that serve the north?

          Reply
          1. Dominick Vila May 28, 2015

            I left California in 1978, when I moved to Maryland. Like you, I have not followed this issue as closely as I should have. My understanding is that climatic changes have turned the low rain rate in Southern California, and parts of California that were once fertile, into desert like areas. I suspect that potable water mismanagement, inefficient transport and storage of water brought from the Colorado River, too much water being wasted on beautiful lawns when a desert like motif would be much more appropriate, and consumption by California’s agricultural industry; coupled with refusal to invest heavily in desalination plants, and embrace water conservation efforts, is turning the whole place into a desolate desert.

            Reply
          2. Sand_Cat May 28, 2015

            Don’t think global warming/climate change has changed the south that much. It was a desert to start with. This just seems to me a case of heedless waste finally resulting in the inevitable, though current climate change may make it even worse.
            Never been to California, but I have been to Arizona: one would think it’s the most water-rich place ever, judging by the cities. Every house in Phoenix seems to have a swimming pool. I went hiking in one of the city parks. On the side of the mountain I started on, there was a huge lake and a golf course. When I reached the top, I could see another golf course with another huge lake on the other side.
            Solar panels? I think I saw one private residence installation in the six months or so I was there. Lots and lots of Hummers, though. And you haven’t lived till you’ve heard a co-worker call on a 115 degree day to complain the HEATER in his pool isn’t working.
            With or without changing the climate, man will continue to find more and more baroque ways to destroy life on the planet until he finally succeeds.

            Reply
          3. joe schmo May 29, 2015

            Dude, climate change has nothing whatsoever to do with our drought. Maybe you need to read the research….

            http://origins.osu.edu/article/west-without-water-what-can-past-droughts-tell-us-about-tomorrow

            Climate change is a joke! Science proves it…..

            Reply
          4. Sand_Cat May 29, 2015

            If you hadn’t been so determined to make your idiotic response, you might have noticed that was what I said, minus your ignorant remarks about science.
            You and the other morons who deny science are the joke: you’re buying into the same kind of crap as that produced by the tobacco industry and other polluters and poisoners to boost their profits.

            Reply
          5. joe schmo May 29, 2015

            Yup, Dominick….you are out of touch on this one. I live here:)

            Reply
          6. joe schmo May 29, 2015

            Who’s sucking it u ask. Everyone is conserving. Even the farmers. Guess who isn’t? Those rich liberal Hollywood bastards who just need to keep their grass greeeeennnnnn.

            Reply
        2. joe schmo May 29, 2015

          Desalination or pipeline instead of that ridiculous train. Washington and Oregon get tons of water. Why not share that downfall here….

          Reply
      2. joe schmo May 29, 2015

        Do you live in this state? Rather doubt it. You don’t even have a clue how conservative with water we all are. Everyone is conscience of our lack of water, but if all the illegals would go home after growing season some of our towns would be ghost towns, we wouldn’t have to put more and more of our tax money out for their healthcare, housing, food, and they certainly would not get the fringe benefits from the schools and universities not to mention, they couldn’t take all the jobs ‘Americans’ want to do. It’s sick because they HAVE all the jobs and most people have a quota in hiring them. Funny how many of us DO NOT want to work with them either. We don’t have an immigrant problem, California has an ‘illegal’ problem….. They have more rights than we do and you are supporting this cause? What an idiot.

        Reply
        1. Sand_Cat May 29, 2015

          Yes, I already know you’re an idiot and a bigot. No need to prove it again.

          Reply
          1. joe schmo May 29, 2015

            Why bother!

            Reply
  2. Sand_Cat May 28, 2015

    Well, of course it’s the immigrants’ fault. Isn’t everything?
    Words fail to described the bigotry and willful ignorance at work here.

    Reply
    1. 13observer May 28, 2015

      If everything is their fault, they sure have benefited as a result. Welfare galore! BTW the real number of illegals in America I more like 50 million. The liberal democrats need to substantiate their claim of the bogus 11 million number out there. Ask California who is to blame for their bankrupt state always begging help from federal government. Lets get these numbers out of the shadows for taxpayers to see. If given citizenship, these people are a (tax) LIABILITY (earned income tax credit) and certainly not an ASSET to taxpayers or those looking for work. Their below average skill set reduces the likelihood of them paying any taxes and their breeding like flies creates many other costly social problems.

      Reply
      1. Sand_Cat May 28, 2015

        Yeah, yeah.
        Any other crap you’d like to peddle? You sound like the idiots running the ad that spurred this article.

        Reply
      2. joe schmo May 29, 2015

        Yup….exactly. I live in the hellhole. I get it…. Liberals just want to add to their ‘gene’ pool. LOL

        Reply
        1. Sand_Cat May 29, 2015

          So, how much did you contribute to your fellow morons to run the ad?

          Reply
          1. joe schmo May 29, 2015

            Not a thing…. Governor Moonbeam and all the hench people in Sacramento, LA and SF contributed to this moonfart….

            Reply
    2. joe schmo May 29, 2015

      Yah, Yah! You don’t live in this state. How would you know?

      Reply
      1. Sand_Cat May 29, 2015

        You don’t have any sense. How would you know?

        Reply
        1. joe schmo May 29, 2015

          Your answer is senseless…. Why bother.

          Reply
  3. Thomas Martin May 29, 2015

    I disagree with the idea that it was the immigrants’ fault. I think we were invaded by aliens from Pluto.

    Reply

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