majority in the United States has sparkedmajor outcry.In 1994,presidential candi-date Pat Buchanan warned,“A non-whitemajority is envisioned if today’s immigra-tion continues.”Given this prediction,heargued that the U.S.needed a “time out”from immigration.
In this wave of anti-immigrant sentiment,politicians and immigration “reform”groups are taking aim at immigrant womenand children in particular.As mothers,immigrant women are especially dangerousin the eyes of today’s nativists because oftheir capacity to give birth to non-whitecitizen children.Of course,most anti-immigrant politicians and organizationsdeny such racist and sexist motives,preferring more palatable economic andenvironmental arguments.Immigrant women and children are alsotargeted for a second reason.The U.S.government and employers rely on a low-cost temporary labor reserve of migrantmen and women to whom they have noobligation to provide education,healthinsurance,or other services.The settlementof immigrant families,including children,shifts the cost of reproduction (bothbiological and social) from the sendingcountry to the U.S.While governmentand employers want to obtain profits fromimmigrant labor,they don’t want to bearthe costs of reproducing the labor force.The so-called “environmental”anti-immigrant perspective claims that immigra-tion and the higher fertility rates of immi-grants are causing overpopulation and thusenvironmental degradation.The “green”attack on immigrants is lodged securelywithin a population control frameworkwhich maintains that halting populationgrowth is the key to stemming poverty,envi-ronmental degradation,and even war.U.S.anti-immigrant rhetoricblames immigrants and their children for perpetuating poverty,increasing scarcity,and destroying the environment.For example,a1996 advertisement from NPG reads:Immigration is the driving force behind the populationgrowth that is devastating our environment and thequality of our lives.
Primarily because of immigration we are rushing at breakneck speed toward an environ- mental and economic disaster
FAIR’s The Environmentalist’s Guide to a Sensible ImmigrationPolicyevokes the threat of immigrant women’s reproduction in asection heading:“Immigration’s Invisible Multiplier:Offspring.”
FAIR and other anti-immigrant organizations often refer to thedanger of so-called “chain migration,”a.k.a.immigration throughfamily reunification laws.FAIR warns that “a single immigrant whois admitted for needed job skills,or out of humanitarianconcerns,or for some other reason,can become the link in anunbreakable chain of family migration.”
FAIR and other groupsare lobbying for laws that would restrict family reunification.Women would be the primary victims of such legislation,since thevast majority of women immigrants come through family-basedimmigration laws.Furthermore,such reforms would create unneces-sary hardship by prolonging the separation of immigrant families.In the economic realm,immigrants and their children are blamedfor depleting social services budgets,especially in areas where thereis a concentrated population of foreign-born residents,such asCalifornia.In the 1990s,many immigration “reform”proponentsbegan suggesting legislation aimed at decreasing the availability ofsocial services to immigrants,especially undocumented ones.Although undocumented immigrants were never eligible for mosttypes of welfare and Medicaid,recent legislation has attempted toreduce the few services available to all types of immigrants evenfurther.Much of this legislation directly targets and affectsimmigrant women and children.For example,early in the 1990s,California Rep.Elton Galleglysuggested a constitutional amendment that would deny citizenshipto children born in the United States to undocumented parents,aproposal that some anti-immigrant organizations currently endorse.In another example,California’s Proposition 187,which appeared onthe 1994 ballot,would have prohibited local and state agencies from