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The Planet

Population Ballot Question

Shall the Sierra Club policy on immigration, adopted by the Board of Directors in 1999 and revised in 2003, be changed to recognize the need to adopt lower limits on migration to the United States as shown below?

Background: For years prior to 1996, Club members discussed taking a position on U.S. immigration policy. In February 1996, the Sierra Club Board of Directors adopted a resolution which said that the Club would take no positions on U.S. immigration levels or policies. In 1998, that position was put to a member vote, and 60 percent of the Club members who voted supported the board-adopted position of neutrality on immigration. Following the vote of the members, the Board adopted in 1999, and subsequently revised in 2003, its population policies to maintain the Sierra Club's neutrality position on immigration levels or policies. In response to a request that the issue again be submitted to the membership, the board of directors agreed to put the following question on the 2005 ballot, but the board also recommended members vote "no" on this question.

Proposed Changes: [Note: The current Sierra Club policy on immigration, adopted by the board of directors September 23-26, 1999, and revised in 2003, is quoted here verbatim, with proposed deletions struck out and additions underlined and marked as new language.]

"Immigration: The Board of Directors finds that under existing Sierra Club population policies:

The Sierra Club advocates reductions in the population in the United States and the world.

"The Sierra Club will pursue this objective by vigorous implementation of the membership vote in the spring of 1998, which stated that"

The Sierra Club reaffirms its commitment to addressing the root causes of global and United States population problems and offers the following comprehensive approach:

  • The Sierra Club will build upon its effective efforts to champion the right of all families to maternal, infant, and reproductive health care, and the empowerment and equity of women.
  • The Sierra Club will continue to address the root causes of migration by encouraging sustainability, economic security, human rights, viable ecosystems, and environmentally responsible consumption.
  • The Sierra Club supports the decision of the Board of Directors to take no position on U.S. immigration levels and policies.
  • The Sierra Club recognizes the need to reduce U.S. birthrates (add the following new language) and adopt lower limits on migration to the United States to address our nation's rapid population growth and its harmful effects on the domestic and global environment.
  • The Club remains committed to environmental rights and protections for all within our borders, without discrimination based on immigration status.

Read the Statement in Favor of the Ballot Question

Read the Statement in Opposition to the Ballot Question

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