"Seeking to deflect charges of racism, anti-immigration activists have launched a cynical campaign to recruit environmentalists to their cause by blaming immigrants for urban sprawl, overconsumption and a host of other environmental problems, according to a report issued today by the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The report – Greenwash: Nativists, Environmentalism & the Hypocrisy of Hate – describes how right-wing nativists are targeting the mainstream environmental movement with advertisements, websites and even a newly formed "progressive" organization that purports to represent liberals who believe immigration must be radically curtailed to preserve the environment.
"The key players behind this effort are nothing less than wolves in sheep's clothing," said Mark Potok, director of the SPLC's Intelligence Project. "Environmentalists should not fall for this canard. These are hard-line nativists, some of whom have ties to white nationalists, and their primary interest is to radically restrict Latino immigration. Preservation of the environment is hardly their real priority."
This is just the latest attempt by nativist forces to appear as something they are not. For example, the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR) has been behind the creation of three other front groups that supposedly represented African Americans (Choose Black America), Latino Americans (You Don't Speak for Me!) and labor (Coalition for the Future American Worker). In fact, FAIR had its own white spokesman double as a press representative for the first two organizations and actually set up Choose Black America on its own.
Greenwash takes a close look at the players behind this new effort and reveals the professional and financial ties to members of Congress and organizations with abysmal environmental records.
The report also notes that the central argument of the greenwashing campaign – the belief that immigration leads to environmental degradation – has been largely rejected by the mainstream environmental movement. Greenwash also includes a timeline of "greenwashing" efforts by anti-immigration groups beginning in 1968..."