Group blames immigrants for California drought

US ImmigrationCalifornians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) is an organization that has been demanding immigration laws be more strictly enforced for a long time, saying that the natural resources of the state cannot continue to sustain population growth at high levels. CAPS has now created a big media campaign, including television commercials that effectively blame immigrants for California’s recent drought.

Paul Mulshine, a columnist for the New Jersey Star-Ledger, last month claimed that analysts were ignoring the real cause of the drought ‒ water resources are now being shared between more people because of immigration. Victor Davis Hanson, an academic from Stanford University, agreed with the sentiment in a National Review article, pointing out that while dry spells in California are nothing new, “What is new is that the state has never had 40 million residents during a drought – well over 10 million more than during the last dry spell in the early 1990s.”

Census data shows that another three to four million people arrive in California every decade, many of whom are immigrants or the children of immigrants, and UCLA astrophysics professor Ben Zuckerman, who is also a CAPS board member, says that the bigger the populace in the state, the more difficult it becomes to cope with the impact of the drought.  The group’s claims have been disputed by many experts, however, who point out that the agriculture industry receives the majority of California’s water and that poor planning is largely responsible for the impact of the drought. Blaming immigrants “doesn’t fit the facts”, says NASA climatologist William Patzert.