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At Progressives for Immigration Reform’s (PFIR) 2nd National Conference on Immigration, Conservation and the Environment, on October 4, four pregnant women were kicked out after they raised concerns about mothers being blamed for environmental degradation.
During a talk by Californians for Population Stabilization’s Ben Zuckerman on the “impact of our growing population on our natural environment.” one woman asked the question, “Are you saying that the life inside of me is the problem? Won’t the next generation be leading us to new solutions?” According to a bystander, shortly after, the same mother stood up and said “my child is not the problem. My child is the solution.” As the other mothers stood up to show support, security guards physically escorted them out of the room while women sang “this little light of mine. I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.”
According to the flyer, the women are “mothers concerned with finding real solutions to environmental problems…committed to raising children to be conscious of social justice AND environmental issues.”
Kicking pregnant women of color out of a meeting for expressing themselves is hardly progressive. Neither is PFIR, an anti-immigrant group funded by white nationalists that is a spin-off of controversial anti-immigrant group Federation for American Immigration Reform. PFIR does not have a problem with population per se — they have a problem with the growing minority population. Since its inception, PFIR has attempted to use progressive frames around conservation to lure environmentalists into the anti-immigrant movement. They blame high immigration levels — including legal immigration — for ravaging the environment while ignoring their own devastating footprint on the planet, turning a blind eye to the detrimental environmental conditions in other countries created by multi-national capital that compels people to leave their homes, and disputing that immigration can actually help to fund and drive the green economy in this country.
All this is to say that PFIR is not anywhere near progressive or environmental friendly and no one should fall for their anti-immigrant drivel unless being progressive now means hating immigrants and our babies.