How the Sierra Club Learned to Love Immigration

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 The Sierra Club, one of the largest and oldest environmental organizations in the nation, announced last month its support for a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants. It was a unanimous decision among the group’s board of directors and marks a definitive break with the group’s troubled history on immigration—a history that has also plagued the environmental movement broadly.

The arc of Sierra Club’s evolution starts with a dubious if not hostile perspective on immigration that the Club carried in the 1960s. The theory was that immigration drives unsustainable population growth, which then drains resources and harms the environment. That perspective shifted to a hard line against immigration in the 1980s, then to a neutral position in the ’90s, before finally coming around in the 21st century to advocating on behalf of immigrants.

The announcement was mostly a codification of work Sierra Club had already been doing lately, such as fighting against building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border to block migration to the United States. But by officially adopting a stance that endorses a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, Sierra—like the Republican Party—is recognizing that shifting demographics matter. Read more here.