Tag Archive for 'immigration'

Water Politics and Immigration Debate Collide

Photo retrieved from: www.palmspringslife.com

“With California in the throes of a historic drought, those issues are converging here in the Coachella Valley, a place best known for its lush resorts and the Coachella Music Festival, but also home to a $600 million dollar agriculture industry.

Many of the farm workers here live off the grid in makeshift mobile home parks that are not connected to the water and sewer systems most Americans take for granted.

Water shortages across California have put a greater strain on groundwater resources in these communities — increasing the concentration of contaminants in the well water that they depend on. But the politics of piping clean water to these homes, at a cost of tens of millions of dollars, are complicated. Many of the families are of mixed status, some legal and some not, sparking debate over the amount of taxpayer funds that should be spent.

Congressman Raul Ruiz, who grew up in this valley as the son of farm workers and became a doctor, said there are serious health issues at stake within these communities, which he and other activists describe as a cornerstone of the U.S. economy.

In the midst of the drought, he said, many of the farm workers who live here must pull more water from the wells: “and these wells already have arsenic, chromium, selenium and other contaminants in the water. What you’re doing is you’re increasing the concentration of these contaminants in the well water that humans are consuming.”

“They live in a completely different reality of water issues than the rest of the state,” Ruiz said. In some areas, he said, “we have six times more than the limit of arsenic that is considered safe for human consumption.”

The congressman and non-profit groups have advocated for public and private dollars to be put toward cleaning up the water in the mobile home parks throughout the Valley. Last year, Ruiz secured more than $7 million worth of U.S. Department of Agriculture grants to help deal with the issue. But he argues it deserves far more attention — which is not a simple matter in the midst of roiling immigration debate.”

Read more: CNN


Reactionary Anti-Immigrant Groups Now Blaming Immigrants For Drought in Southwestern US

Photo retrieved from: www.commondreams.org

“The anti-immigrant movement, under groups like The Center for Immigration Studies (CIS), blame immigrants and population levels in the American Southwest for lack of water and potential water shortages. We know droughts are becoming more frequent and are lasting longer. There are real causes for water shortages in the Southwest and equitable access to water is highly important. The anti-immigrant movement, however, has only one cause and one solution: blame immigrants.

In The Center for Immigration Studies’ new report, “Population, Immigration, and the Drying of the American Southwest,” the group asserts that the key to addressing water scarcity is immigration. According to CIS, immigration is causing the Southwest population to “explode” and making insatiable demands on “our” limited resources. CIS encourages its readers to take action and even claims that the government is “afraid” to address immigration.

Kathleen Parker, writer for CIS, presents a flood of figures to relate the grim states of the Rio Grande, the Colorado River and the reservoirs and aquifers spread across California, Arizona, New Mexico, Nevada and Colorado. Parker paints a threatening picture in which wild fires are likened to atomic bombs and the local history is “dotted with violence and shoot outs over the precious resource [water].”

Read more: AlterNet