Secret Senate Amnesty Provision to Roll Back Key Environmental Protections

Press Releases

May 16, 2007

The Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) has learned that White House and Congressional leaders negotiating an anticipated Senate amnesty bill have agreed to add language exempting S.1348 from the mandate that all major legislative actions be subject to an environmental impact study.

A source with access to the closed door negotiations has discovered an S.1348 loophole that will exempt the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from the rulemaking procedures of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) if the amnesty measure is enacted.

“This deplorable loophole reveals that the President, Senator Reid and Senator Kyl are well aware of the widespread negative effects that a massive amnesty will have on the environment,” said Sharma Hammond, IRLI environmental protection attorney. “Why else would they shield this bill from a public review to verify that amnesty regulations will not hurt the quality of life of tens of millions of Americans?”NEPA was enacted in 1969 by Congress to ensure that all federal agencies carefully assess and inform the public about the environmental health and safety impacts of “major regulatory actions.”

Reports indicate the pending Senate amnesty bill — like the earlier McCain-Kennedy and Flake-Gutierrez measures — would increase the population of the United States by 66 to 100 million more inhabitants over the next 20 years. In addition to direct grants of amnesty to an estimated 20 million illegal aliens, S.1348 will create a massive new wave of chain migration, by granting liberalized visas to extended family members, and rubberstamping the “temporary” entry of millions of “guest-workers” and their extended families, few of whom will ever go home. New construction and natural resource depletion needed to support 100 million more inhabitants will be the primary “fuel for a runaway train” of increased sprawl, congestion, and ecological destruction in North America.

NEPA was an historic milestone in protecting our environment against damage from unplanned population impacts. It is deeply disturbing that 38 years later, our elected officials want to link amnesty with an unprecedented roll-back of environmental protections for U.S. citizens.

“One hundred million new inhabitants will cancel out billions of dollars invested in the American environment over the past generation,” said Mike Hethmon, IRLI General Counsel. “Environmental defenders must urge Congress not to turn a blind eye to the major environmental threat that an amnesty-driven population surge represents.”

Get Connected

Sign up for our email newsletter to stay up to date with immigration reform in the United States.

Attorneys United for a Secure America (AUSA) is a non-partisan affiliation of talented attorneys dedicated to pursuing cases that serve the national interest when it comes to immigration law.

If you are interested in joining the network, visit the AUSA website.