Readers React: Our environment can’t handle the influx of immigrants that the economy needs to grow

A group of migrants from Brazil sits in U.S. Border Patrol custody in New Mexico on March 20.
(Paul Ratje / AFP/Getty Images)

To the editor: Having spent three hours traveling 100 miles on the 5 Freeway this weekend, I was struck by Wayne A. Cornelius’ argument that we aren’t “full,” contrary to what President Trump said on immigration.

While the author calls for “evidence-based reforms,” he ignores evidence that we have reached or exceeded the limits of how many people we can cram into our country without seriously damaging both our quality of life and the environment’s ability to sustain all of us.

Continual population growth is physically impossible. If our economic system cannot be sustained without uninterrupted growth, then our system must change. Delaying that change by adding young immigrants to our population will only postpone the inevitable.

How ironic that this op-ed article was published in the paper alongside an interview with author Terry Tempest Williams, who advocates for the protection of nature and wilderness. How does one reconcile these two opinions?


John La Grange, Solana Beach


To the editor: At last, we have some objective information on immigration in the form of numbers.

If the average work life expectancy is 40-50 years, then we need to replace 2-2.5% of the workforce annually just to maintain the total number of persons employed. And that assumes no job growth. Yet, as Cornelius points out, labor force growth has been under 1% annually since 2000.


Perhaps progress on this issue requires regular repetition of the facts in place of Trump’s false and inflammatory rhetoric.

Alan B. Posner, Santa Barbara

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