Immigration fuels Western growth

  D.J. Waldie writes of something which many of us have tried to warn of, that "smart growth" isn’t necessarily smart (HCN, 8/8/05: In the suburbs of Los Angeles, your future awaits). Portland, hailed as the icon of smart growth, will in a generation or so be as high-density as Los Angeles. It will have, in Waldie’s words, "the same traffic congestion, unaffordable housing. ... " I also worry about the thousands of other towns that will be impacted every bit as much.

But Waldie’s statement "Welcome to the future, Westerners. It’s L.A.," implies we lack alternatives. We do not.

Why is it that — while every other developed nation has stopped growing or is losing population (Italy, Spain, Ireland) — we have one of the highest growth rates and will not allow the possibility that we should stop growing onto the radar? Have we all bought into the boom booster’s self-serving pipe dream: "We must have growth, but it’s got to be good growth"? Do we prefer this myth to confronting social choices that must be confronted eventually: Immigration at upwards of three times the frontier-era great wave and driving a population explosion that will mean a China-like one billion Americans later this century?

We would serve our nation’s future, and the environment’s — both domestic and international — by demanding immigration reduction combined with adequate funding for international family planning.

Kathleene Parker
Rio Rancho, New Mexico