The Sierra Club’s Immigration Wars

March 4, 2004

By Tom DeWeese

My recent commentary, “What part of ‘illegal’ don’t Americans understand?”, generated a lot of flack. Several responses called me a bigot. Others called me a Nazi. Most of the negative comments parroted the pro-amnesty party line that says illegal aliens are really just hard working, honest folks looking for a better life, simply taking jobs that Americans just won’t do.

One comment accused me of knowing nothing about the issue since I’ve never had to employ or deal with the issue. This writer was way off the mark because I recently owned a company that employed more than 40 Hispanic immigrants and I learned first hand about their honesty and work ethic.

All of my detractors missed the point. It is illegal to sneak across our borders and there are laws that say so. Let me share two excerpts from just a few of the letters I received from Hispanic-Americans on the issue. These are people who live daily on the front lines with the illegal alien invasion.

“This is one of the best articles on the Issue I have ever read. Thank you for enlightening my eyes to this great reality. I am originally from Brazil and have gone through arduous but fructiferous path in my legalization. By God’s grace I married a beautiful American who has made my process easier, but no less expensive. I have paid over $1,000 and so far I am still 7 months from receiving my green card and 3 years from becoming a citizen. But Tom, I tell you it is all worth it! To become a citizen of this great nation I would do anything within legal boundaries.”

“To allow millions of ‘illegal immigrants’ to enter this country is to spit on my face and tell me that all I have gone through in these last 4 years is a worthless waste of time. I will continue to proclaim the sovereignty of this great nation in which, by God’s grace, I intend to be a part of.”

The Bush Administration has proposed its “guest worker” amnesty program in order to court the Hispanic vote. The effort will backfire because illegals will never come to the Republican Party. It is the legal Hispanic immigrants like those who wrote to me who would naturally vote for President Bush but they too will turn away, outraged by the Republican disregard for their plight.

Laws make a nation by securing property and our way of life. Ignoring those laws for the price of a few votes creates an outlaw state. Those that have come here legally understand that fact, why doesn’t President Bush?

Immigration issues are generating an internal war within the famed Sierra Club. With the election of its Board of Directors coming in April, the Sierra Club is fighting a two-front war from within as activists from its right wing and left wing seek to take control. It’s developing into a war for the very soul of the nation’s largest environmental activist group.

From the right, activists seek to change the organization’s direction on immigration policy. Currently, the Sierra Club supports open borders to allow the flood of illegals into the United States. The group’s rational is that aliens from poor countries would do less damage to the environment here because the US can better cope with pollution. Therefore, says official Sierra Club policy, let them come. Never mind the cost to taxpayers.

Meanwhile, the Green “Sustainable Development” policy is enforcing “Smart Growth”; regulations on American cities, stopping development, controlling water use, and forcing Americans out of their cars in the name of a population explosion that exists only because of an open border policy! Now, some members of the Sierra Club have reasoned that support for such an immigration policy should end in order to protect the US environment.

Those members opposing the current Sierra Club leadership have now been labeled “extremists” that advocate the “greening of hate.” Thus, according to current Sierra Club leaders, you are a hate monger and a racist if you support national sovereignty or protected borders designed to keep out law-breakers!

From the Sierra Club’s left—if such a thing is possible—comes another takeover effort by a real extremist named Paul Watson. He was a co-founder of Greenpeace who was later kicked out for endorsing increasingly violent tactics. Watson founded the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society, an eco-terror group that sails the seas armed with AK-47’s in search of fishing boats to ram and sink. He has openly claimed credit for sinking ten fishing ships.

Only a few years ago, reportedly Watson attempted to obtain a submarine that could lurk undetected under the water ready to sink unsuspecting whalers and fishing ships. Watson claims to have invented tree spiking as a tactic to stop the cutting of trees in the nation’s forests. Says Watson “there’s nothing wrong with being a terrorist, as long as you win.”

Watson has declared his intention to take over the Sierra Club and transform it into an animal rights organization that takes a strong stance against hunting and fishing. It’s interesting to note that the Sierra Club leadership has not reacted with nearly the alarm to the possible takeover by a known terror advocate like Watson as they have against those who simply want to keep illegal aliens out of our nation. That fact alone says a lot about the true soul of the Sierra Club, no matter who’s in charge.

Does it matter who runs the Sierra Club? You bet is does! The organization has worked for years to impose strict rules on developing private and public lands in the name of protecting endangered species. Science and reason have had little to do with the outcome. With the power to file lawsuits and intimidate government bodies at every level, the Sierra Club dictates have now largely become government policies. Now they are reaping the fruits of their labor.

Just days after President Bush announced his “guest-worker” program, the number of illegals crossing the border increased dramatically. Apprehension of illegals in the San Diego area alone has since risen threefold. Of course, the Bush Administration argues that there is no connection between the two events.

Meanwhile, in the name of protecting national security, the Department of Homeland Security has initiated efforts to fortify heavy traffic sections of the Mexican border to try to slow the illegals from getting through. Fencing along nine miles of a key section of the border has been completed. The remaining five miles, including filling a half-mile of “Smugglers Gulch” to construct a road, remain in limbo. The new road would be used for border patrols, and maintenance, lights, sensors and cameras. The Border Patrol has already reported the finished section has made a major reduction in illegals getting through the area.

However, those efforts have been stopped by the California Coastal Commission, which says the new defenses would endanger the habitat of several rare birds. The Commission’s biological assessment said the project would “harass” one pair of least Bell’s vireos and a pair of Southwestern flycatchers. Three gnatcatchers would also be “harassed” along with several maritime chaparral on nearly fifty acres of land. Therefore, the government’s efforts to finalize the project to secure a major area of our borders is denied.

There’s no report yet on the impact from the flying feet of thousands of illegal immigrants as they race over the gnatcatchers nest. But then, such a report wouldn’t be politically correct, would it? The Sierra Club must be proud of the impact its policies are having on the quality of life for all Americans.

Tom DeWeese
[email protected]

Tom DeWeese is one of the nation’s leading advocates of individual liberty, free enterprise, private property rights, personal privacy, back-to-basics education and American sovereignty and independence.