Platforms on Population and Immigration
England and Wales
The Green Parties advocate protection and stewardship of the environment more strongly than do most other political parties. Given the strong relationship between population growth and environmental degradation, it is of interest to examine the positions taken by Green Parties on issues of population and immigration.
Below we present excerpts from all Green Party platforms and position statements that we have been able to locate.
The positions are somewhat varied as there is no central leadership, and the Green Parties of different nations and of different states in the U.S. operate independently of each other. With respect to population control, the Green Parties have an essentially globalist stance. They believe that since excess population is a global problem, the ways of dealing with it must be primarily global or international in character. They seem to feel that it would be unfair if one country were able to control its population well ahead of other countries, especially if this were achieved by limitations on immigration, and especially if it were a western country.
Green Party positions on immigration show some variety. For example, a reticent, feet-on-the-ground position is taken by the Green Party of Hawai'i. Its brief statement notes the contribution of immigration to that state's very high (2.4% per year) population growth rate in the 1970s and 1980s and calls for "carrying capacity studies for all counties to determine development limits."
The Green Parties of California and the England and Wales, on the other hand, adopt aggressive stances. The California party statement refers to that majority of the U.S. population favoring greater restrictions on immigration as being "xenophobic" and "reactionary." In the U.S. that sort of language often is used a smoke-screen for weak arguments and to forestall reasoned debates the name-callers would be likely to lose. They state that since even "militaristic fortification of the border" will not stop illegal immigration, the U.S. should provide full social services to illegal immigrants and should not penalize persons or companies who employ them.
The Green Party of England and Wales seems a little schizophrenic. Its detailed statement on immigration conflicts in both tenor and substance with its detailed statement on population. The population statement, for example, calls for "a gradual reduction in the England and Wales population over a number of generations." Its statement on immigration, however, states that "Richer regions and communities do not have the right to use migration controls to protect their privileges from others in the long term. .... We will work to achieve greater equity between the England and Wales and non-Western countries. In step with this, we will progressively reduce England and Wales immigration controls." With shameless invective, it labels as "racists of the far right" all those persons in the the United Kingdom and Europe who favor increased immigration controls.
Through the often vague and inconsistent language of these platforms, one senses that at least for the receiving countries favored by migrants, Green Party policies would be no more salubrious for the environment than are the policies (or non-policies) of mainstream political parties.
As they become available and we find them, we will add the population and immigration platforms of other Green Parties to this webpage. Suggestions are welcome. S.Hurlbert, SDSU, September 1999
The Green Party of California: Position Statements on Population and Immigration
The Green Party of California believes humans have a unique responsibility for stewardship of the Earth. No species, especially on the upper end of the food chain, can have unchecked exponential growth without depleting the Earth's carrying capacity--human population expands at the expense of other species.
Limiting the discussion to population numbers and birthrates diverts attention from overconsumption in the industrial world and historic patterns of exploitation of developing countries. Consumption-oriented life-styles that have evolved in the industrial world have resulted in a minority of people consuming a majority of resources. This is as significant of a threat to the Earth's carrying capacity, or possibly more significant, than high birth rates in low-consumption countries.
Current global demographics demonstrate that economic well-being promotes low birthrates. Any discussion of population must also be a discussion of women throughout the world. There is documented evidence that the economic and social status of women is a primary factor in birthrates: when women have control over their lives, birthrates decrease. Also, a major barrier to the improvement of women's reproductive health is a lack of shared responsibility between men and women in family planning. A combination of male attitudes and cultural traditions have resulted in most men being undereducated and uninvolved in the planning of their families.
Our global realities are that population is increasing while food production has levelled off; that when population increases faster than the economy grows, the disparity between rich and poor also increases; that higher human consumption rates and populations increase the pressure on the environment in every ecological problem area.In California, the population is projected to double in 30 years, which means we will have to double food, schools, housing, electricity generation and jobs to maintain current life-styles and consumption levels. However, we cannot double our water supplies, farmland, forests or waste disposal capacity.
For humanity to live in balance with nature, the Green Party advocates the following:
- Those living in the industrialized world must end the habits of waste and overconsumption that place as much stress on the environment as does population growth in developing nations.
- The Green Party will act to remove the political and economic barriers which prevent women around the world from having all the resources necessary to become skilled family planners.
- Funds must be allocated for expanded scientific research into safer and more effective birth control techniques and devices. We demand better-than-adequate health care for women and children--especially prenatal care.
- In the U.S., there must be access to free birth control devices, information, counseling and clinics to all who desire them. We call for implementation of family planning education for both genders in all levels of the state school system.
- We must promote new traditions and images of men becoming fully involved in all aspects of the family planning process.
Immigration policies should be based strongly on human rights. Properly devised immigrant work policies can be of economic benefit to the worker and the host nation.
In California, discussions of immigration mostly center around the Latino population that moves across the U.S - Mexican border. Xenophobic responses are typified by Proposition 187 which claimed we "are suffering economic hardship by the presence of illegal aliens..." To the contrary, numerous studies show a positive net effect from the taxes paid, wages spent and jobs created by immigrant workers. However, reactionary allegations are popularized to divert discussions away from underlying causes of U.S. economic erosion, such as the permanent decline of labor-intensive jobs and the widening gap between rich and poor. Likewise, global issues such as deterioration of natural resources and predatory foreign policies by the northern countries are ignored as contributors to human migration.
Many immigrants come to the U.S in response to cyclical demands in the labor market. Since demand drives the migration, most immigrants, legal or not, do not displace native workers. Keeping workers illegal just makes them more vulnerable to exploitations and illegal actions by employers. This makes them an attractive labor source which, in turn, increases the demand. This cycle of oppression and exploitation is the equivalent of a modern-day slave trade.
Many people also migrate due to political persecution and poverty--conditions for which the U.S. should admit complicity. As long as labor demands exist, and poverty and oppression in the southern Americas continues, legal and illegal immigration will be a reality in California. We can deal with this reality by militaristic fortification of the border, or we can admit that labor, like capital, will cross borders, and that fortifications do not deter desperate people.
The Green Party supports these policies (as advocated by Cesar Chavez) which seek to integrate, rather than alienate, migrant labor:
- The U.S.- Mexican border should be recognized as an area of bi-national interdependence. This would be an authentic free-trade zone where people are free to travel for work, shopping or recreation. Similar arrangements already exist between the U.S. and Canada (the Cascadia co-operative zone) and among the nations of Europe.
- Seasonal labor demands country-wide should be allowed to be filled by foreign workers using work visas, with these workers subject to U.S. wage, tax and labor laws. The Employer Sanctions provision of the 1986 Immigration Reform and Control Act should be repealed as ineffective. Bi-national unions and hiring halls should replace the illegal activities of labor contractors.
- We call for the repeal of Proposition 187, and we oppose the continuing legislative trend of reducing and/or denying services that are available to all other workers. We advocate voting rights for permanent residents, as was the law prior to World War I.· We should acknowledge and celebrate the influence of diverse cultures in the mosaic that is the unique California culture.
Excerpt from Section B Official Platforms
d12. populationNone of the previous proposals will save the environment if the human population continues to grow at the current rate. Greens support worldwide zero population growth. We would promote contraception research, distribution, and education at home and overseas.
Though we have experienced a temporary diminishing of the population in Hawai`i during the 1990's, it has not been the norm. Hawai'i's population has grown quickly, 2.4% annually during the period 1970-1986. This was three times as fast as the overall U.S. population growth. Only a small part of this was due to natural increase (the surplus of births over deaths). Most population growth here is due to migration, from foreign countries and from the Mainland. This migration was spurred by the growth of the tourist industry, which creates more low-paying menial jobs than local residents can fill.
Population growth must cease. We need carrying capacity studies for all counties to determine development limits. (See Section B)
Excerpt from Platform "Program"
The environmental impact of humans is a product of the number of people multiplied by the per capita resource consumption and pollution production. The world population has doubled since 1950. Americans consume five times more resources and create five times more pollution than the world average. Because this human impact is now beyond a sustainable level, we must take immediate action to reduce population growth. Our goal is zero population growth in our country as soon as possible. We also can help, through non-coercive means, those countries attempting to limit population.
- Policies that limit population by non-coercive means.
- Free and widespread access to family planning information and services.
- Education and literacy programs for all people.
- Women's rights and equal opportunity.
- Adequate health care for all, including pre-natal and child health care.
- Raised living standards for low-income and Third World groups and countries.
- Full employment opportunities for all people.
The Green Party of Minnesota: Position Statement on Population
- 1. Overpopulation
- We support efforts toward zero or negative human population growth. Overpopulation combined with the resource demands and waste production of our modern lifestyles are root causes of environmental degradation.
- 2. Individual Empowerment
- It has been conclusively demonstrated that the more personal power individual women and men have over their lives as a whole, the more likely they are to plan their families in an intentional and sustainable manner. The first step in stabilizing and ultimately reducing population growth must therefore be the determination to create just and nurturing human societies.
- 3. Overconsumption
- While the Minnesota Greens recognize that the current total population of this planet has stressed the physical environment in many regions, they also recognize that when addressing "population" as an issue they must also include a critique of the patterns of overconsumption. It is widely known that the industrialized northern countries use much more of the world's non-renewable resources, consume far more energy, and thus produce much more waste than developing Third World countries.
- 4. Family Planning
- We support the dissemination of information on the full range of currently available contraception options, including natural family planning. We also support the easy availability of contraceptives to all sexually active females and males. We endorse UN and all international, national, state and local agencies which advocate family planning and birth control in a culturally sensitive and ethical manner.
Excerpt from Platform Policy Document
J.Immigration/EmigrationOur nation was built with a rich tapestry of immigrants and we must continue to respect the potential contributions and RIGHTS of our new immigrants. Preferential quotas based on race, class, and ideology should be abandoned for immigration policies that promote fairness, NON-DISCRIMINATION and family reunification. We support policies that reflect our constitutional guarantees of freedoms of speech, association and travel. We find particular attention should be given those minorities who are political exiles and refugees, including Russian Jews, mid-east Kurds, Tibetans and Haitians.
In New Mexico, our relationship with our neighbor to the south, Mexico, need to be given added attention. Our border relations, and reciprocal economic opportunities, should be a central concern of a New Mexican government that is looking to improved economic, environmental and social conditions for both peoples.
We oppose those who seek to divide us for political gain by raising ethnic and racial hatreds, blaming immigrants for social and economic problems.
Green Party of England and Wales: Position Statements on Population and ImmigrationExcepts from Green Party of England and Wales 'Manifesto for a Sustainable Society' Population Migration
P100 The biggest challenge in politics is how, peacefully, to make available the necessities and good things of life to an ever increasing number of people from a finite and diminishing resource base and the natural environment. This growth in human numbers is probably the greatest long-term threat to achieving ecological stability either locally or throughout the world.
Pollution, waste disposal, habitat destruction, urban degradation and many other problems will intensify and absorb a disproportionate amount of resources as numbers of people increase. The quality of life of all, except for that of a very rich and powerful minority, will decline. As such problems intensify, it becomes easy for authoritarian regimes to gain control and to impose draconian solutions. It is desirable that peoples should avoid this by voluntarily taking responsible action now so that without repressive measures, human numbers are eventually brought into balance. We owe this to future generations.
We advocate a wider awareness of all the consequences of large numbers of people trying to live on a finite area of habitable land and on finite resources. The laws of mathematics dictate that if action is not taken human numbers will continue to increase until the population is curtailed by either rational human decisions or 'natural' limiting factors such as disease, famine, pollution or war.
It should be clearly understood that the Party does not support repressive or coercive population control measures but, rather, is seeking to avoid their imposition. Our emphasis is on scientifically based education on the subject.
Long Term Objectives
P200 To work with other World authorities to establish regional population levels sustainable within the carrying capacity of each defined region providing a lifestyle and quality of life desired by the people of the region.
The level set is to be such as can be sustained indefinitely without incurring ecological degradation or exploitation of other species. To achieve this would require a consistent approach over more than one generation.
It would be an essential asset objective of any Green government to reduce the material consumption per person in the UK to that of an internationally sustainable level, whilst also encouraging, through non-coercive means, a lower birthrate, to work for a gradual reduction in the UK population over a number of generations.
Medium Term Objectives
P300 To promote the reduction of the population of the developed world as an essential step towards reducing the exploitation of the poorest peoples of the world.
P301 To assist the lesser developed countries with the tasks of both raising their standard of living and reducing the pressure of their population growth.
Short Term Objectives
P400 To stimulate awareness in the UK and Europe of the necessity of reducing the birth rate to well below replacement rate.
P401 To provide the information, facilities and materials necessary to achieve this.
P402 To establish in the UK, region by region, the agreed self-sufficient ecological carrying capacity and to start the process of stabilising populations at these levels.
P403 To promote debate as to how sustainable lifestyles, compatible with the biosphere, can be developed to provide meaningful and satisfying lives for all with or without children.
P404 To change Society's attitude to childlessness.
P500 An Office of Population Statistics will be charged with the following functions:a) coordinating the monitoring of regional population numbers;
b) coordinating research aimed at establishing an 'ecological index' of self-sufficiency and environmental impact based on considerations of consumption and activity multiplied by the population of each region;
c) helping regions to establish their local carrying capacity conforming to an agreed quality of life;
d) to monitor the impact of worldwide changes on local carrying capacities;
e) to ensure that all the information gathered is made available to everyone.
P501 An adequately funded Agency will conduct an ongoing campaign providing information to the media, local authorities, opinion leaders and the general public on the ecological, technological and social implications for the future. An open public debate on the issues will be instituted and supported until consensus is achieved.
P502 Family planning, counselling, materials and facilities for vasectomies will be free and readily available in all localities. The funding for these will be separated from health authority budgets. (seeH301)
P503 People who have interrupted paid employment find difficulty in resuming their careers and some parents further increase their families as compensation for being unable to be creative through paid employment. There will be tax incentives for employers who provide support facilities at the workplace such as child-care, job sharing, flexible working, counselling and family planning. Official employers will take the lead. (see WR & SW)
P504 There will be an emphasis on improving educational and economic opportunities both for young women and those needing to update their skills or re-train.
P505 An adequately funded campaign on the responsibilities of parenthood will be ongoing and encouragement given to voluntary bodies in this field, including those giving support to childless families.
P506 There should be an increase in 'only' children. Communities will be expected to provide social and other sorts of support for all children, from nursery schools to clubs. This will include 'safe houses' where abused or otherwise stressed children can find sanctuary.
P507 There will be an holistic approach to the teaching of children about sex with emphasis on emotional relationships and social responsibility from a population perspective based on good science. (ED319)
P508 Communication links will be set up at grassroots level between ourselves and less-developed peoples and a dialogue developed with governments on how best to give responsibility and control to local people in solving their demographic and other problems.
P509 Priority will be given to aid packages where local people have asked for assistance for family planning.
P510 Generally, aid other than for emergencies will be targeted towards education with a high level of female participation. (see EC990)
P511 As soon as funds are available, the United Nations should be encouraged to help all nation-states to instigate a system of registration of births, deaths and marriages.
P512 Tax incentives will be used to encourage the marketing of goods produced by women's co-operatives in less-developed countries.
P513 Debts will be re-structured with ecological packages supporting local self-sufficiency with an emphasis on village-scale projects, particularly those likely to foster the independence of women. (see EC970)
MG100 The Green Party's long term global vision is of an international economic order where the relationship between regions is non-exploitative, each region is as self-reliant and economically self-sufficient as practicable and the quality of life (social, political, environmental, cultural and economic) is such that there is less urge to migrate. Logically, in order to move away from the current level of immigration controls, we must create a fairer world
MG101 The existing economic order and colonialism have both been major causes of migration through direct and indirect violence, disruption of traditional economies, the use of migrants as cheap labour, uneven patterns of development and global division of labour.
MG102 We are aware that, in the 21st century, there is likely to be mass migration of people escaping from the consequences of global warming, environmental degradation, resource shortage and population increase.
MG103 The Green Party recognises the contributions made by many migrants to their recipient area or community. We value the cultural diversity and intercultural awareness resulting from both temporary residence and migration.
MG200 The Green Party's highest priority is the creation of a just and ecological world order in which environmental devastation is minimised and needs can be met without recourse to migration.
MG201 We believe that the world's people have an individual and collective responsibility to ensure ecological sustainability, human rights and social justice. Within this, they have the right to self determination.
MG202 International action and a willingness to share resources will be required to meet the needs of environmental migrants.
MG203 Richer regions and communities do not have the right to use migration controls to protect their privileges from others in the long term.
MG204 Communities and regions should have the right to restrict inward migration when one or more of the following conditions are satisfied:a) The ecology of the recipient area would be significantly adversely affected by in-comers to the detriment of the wider community (eg. National Parks, Antarctica);
b) The recipient area is owned or controlled by indigenous peoples (eg Australian aboriginal people) whose traditional lifestyle would be adversely affected by in-comers;
c) The prospective migrants have, on average, equal or greater economic power than the residents of the recipient area and they or their families were not forced to leave the area in the recent past.
MG205 Migration policies should not discriminate directly on grounds of race, colour, religion, political belief, disability, sex or sexual orientation. Preference should not be given to those with resources or desirable skills.
MG206 The Green Party is opposed to forced migration and forced repatriation.
MG207 Regions or communities must have the right to reject specific individuals on grounds of public safety.
MG208 The interests of both prospective migrants and the recipient area or community must be recognised and, hence, the appropriate resolution of a particular situation (unless covered above) must depend on negotiation between the parties affected.
Medium Term Policies
MG300 We will work to achieve greater equity between the UK and non-Western countries. In step with this, we will progressively reduce UK immigration controls.
Short Term Policies
MG400 We will replace existing British Immigration law with an Immigration law which does not discriminate directly on the grounds listed above (see MG205). This law will be based on the principle of fair and prompt treatment of applicants rather than on excluding dishonest applicants whatever the cost to the honest ones. It will not aim to allow increased net migration to Britain other than for humanitarian reasons or as a result of other Green Party policies. We will consult widely with affected groups to ensure that features of the current law which are of concern to them are addressed.
MG401 We will allow the partners, prospective partners, immediate families and prospective families of British residents to join them without excessive delays or unreasonable requirements for proof of relationship. This will be independent of the financial status of the resident and will not be dependent on her/him providing accommodation (We recognise that this must be implemented in association with a housing policy).
MG402 A person's right to stay will not be linked to that of partners or families but will be independent. Families will not be divided by deportation unless the deportee poses a serious danger to public safety.
MG403 We will abolish the 'primary purpose' rule under which partners are refused entry if it is thought that the primary purpose of relationship is for them to gain entry to the UK.
MG404 We will allow the victims of past errors in immigration decisions to come to the UK where these decisions have resulted in continuing serious deprivation.
MG405 Migrants illegally in the UK for over five years will be allowed to remain unless they pose a serious danger to public safety.
MG410 We will aim to ensure that UK immigration control takes place primarily at ports of entry so that no resident is required to carry proof of residence.
MG411 We will implement a visibly independent appeal process for Immigration decisions.
MG412 No prospective immigrant will be held in detention for migration-related reasons, other than in the most exceptional circumstances, eg a prospective migrant who poses a serious danger to public safety.
MG413 Deportation costs will be paid by or recovered from the deportee where they can reasonably afford it.
MG414 Transport providers must not be penalised for bringing people without the required visas, etc. to the UK.
MG415 We will provide advice and assistance in appropriate languages at ports of entry and provide legal aid for immigration cases.
MG416 We will provide accurate information about conditions in the UK to prospective migrants.
MG417 We will undertake a thorough review of UK Immigration Practices and the UK Immigration Service to ensure that racist features are removed and immigration officers receive sufficient suitable training. We will encourage greater ethnic minority participation in the Immigration Service.
MG418 We will ensure that sufficient staff and resources are available to effect these policies.
Immigration and the EC
MG420 We will resist all attempts to introduce a 'barrier round Europe' shutting out non-Europeans or giving them more restricted rights of movement within Europe than European Nationals.
MG421 We oppose the concept of a common immigration policy for the European Community. Given the differing colonial and migration histories of Community countries, we believe that national policies allow more flexibility. However, if a common migration policy is introduced, we will aim to ensure that it includes our short-term migration policies and will welcome any measures in it which improve the treatment of migrants. Any common migration policies for EC member states should be formulated under the scrutiny of democratically accountable bodies.
MG430 We will produce and implement contingency plans for the future financial and other support of environmental migrants. We will encourage such planning by international agencies, non-governmental organisations, other countries, the European Community and local government.
MG440 We will encourage periods of temporary residence in the UK and abroad, particularly by young people, to promote intercultural awareness.
MG441 We will encourage local authorities to take account of family union requirements of their residents in allocating public housing, independent of the current location of the other family members.
THE EUROPEAN COMMUNITIES AND MIGRATION
Green Party Conference notes the attempts by European Community member states and by the Commission of the European Communities to harmonize laws and procedures in connection with migration throughout the Communities. We note that this has meant increasing restrictions upon the rights and freedoms of refugees, asylum seekers and other migrants. Through the harmonization process and through the work of intergovernmental organizations and conventions such as Schengen, TREVI and the Dublin Convention on Asylum the racists of the far right have seen their policies implemented by governments who would claim to oppose them.
Conference calls upon the European Communities and Member States to harmonise their policies on migration by adoption of measures which tackle the root causes of migration and guarantee asylum seekers and refugees fair treatment in all member states.
Conference calls upon the European Community to take action to stem the rise of racism and fascism in Europe and to counter the strengthening Europe-wide networks of racist groups.
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