Sierra Club Board Elections
We are a nation of immigrants — yet some amongst us would like to see even legal immigration banned. The latest battle ground is the Sierra Club board. As a long standing member of the organization, I’m concerned that the current economic climate will help propel some of these “extremist” onto the board which might result in a board vote to advocate reducing or even banning legal immigration. Population growth does need to be managed, but blaming current environmental problems on immigrants is too extreme a policy for me to support. This policy is also borderline racist if you take in to fact that many immigrants today come from non-Anglo countries. So hoping that the hostile take-over is unsuccessful. If it is, I may have to turn my support elsewhere.
March 22 issue – Forget the race for the White House. The most bitter campaign this year may well be for control of the Sierra Club, where a war is raging over an unlikely issue: immigration. Immigration-control activists are fighting to take over America’s largest environmental group during the election period that runs through late April. They believe that explosive population growth—and the overtaxing of natural resources and urban sprawl that comes with it—is the nation’s greatest environmental threat. (Immigration—legal and illegal—adds as many as 2 million residents annually, according to estimates.) In the past few months anti- immigration hardliners, including white-supremacist groups, have entered the fray, urging supporters to mail in the $25 Sierra Club membership fee to get a vote and help stack the board of directors.
In a recent statement to club members, civil-rights lawyer Morris Dees pressed against the “greening of hate”; soon after, 13 past presidents signed a letter to the board expressing concern about the viability of the club. Says club president Larry Fahn: “There have been outside organizations attempting to influence the outcome of this election. It’s happened before at relatively modest levels, but never with this intensity.”
For their part, anti-immigration leaders—they call themselves “reform” candidates—are outraged at being associated with extremists. Three of them sued Fahn last month over election tactics, though they soon dropped their suit. “I’m being blamed for groups I don’t have anything to do with,” says Richard Lamm, reform board candidate and former Colorado governor. “My family marched in Selma. They know damn well I’m not a racist.”