Money Talks for Sierra Club

Stacks_of_moneyThe Sierra Club has now gone full circle. It has morphed from an organization that supported reducing immigration to a moderate level in the interest of reducing the nation’s rapid population growth to its current neutral position on immigration which supports the current rampant immigration. Why did the organization make this shift? According to an interview by NBC News, the current Sierra Club director, Michael Brune, claimed that, “In our past, whenever the Sierra Club or any environmental group took a position that alienated us from the population it only made us weaker.”

That’s a compelling argument, but also one that is extremely duplicitous. The change in Sierra Club policy followed a donation reported to be $101.5 million to the organization with the caveat that the club not support immigration restriction. That donation was treated as a secret by the club, but it leaked into the press in an October 2004 article in the Los Angeles Times.

While it is understandable that the club wants to attract a diverse base of supporters for environmental causes, its 180-degree shift on immigration ignores that the rate of population growth – fueled in a large majority by immigration – has serious long-term consequences for the environment. Immigration is a discretionary policy and no responsible organization, including the Sierra Club before its money grab,  advocates shutting the door on all immigration. Instead, mitigating the environmental impact of rapid population growth by reducing immigration to a moderate level consistent with population stability is a policy that should have the support of all environmentalists. That is not an anti-immigrant policy.


About Author


Jack, who joined FAIR’s National Board of Advisors in 2017, is a retired U.S. diplomat with consular experience. He has testified before the U.S. Congress, U.S. Civil Rights Commission, and U.S. Commission on Immigration Reform and has authored studies of immigration issues. His national and international print, TV, and talk radio experience is extensive (including in Spanish).


  1. avatar

    I read that America would not be dependent on foreign oil if immigration wasnt so extreme the last few decades, majority of new jobs go to immigrants.
    Shame on the Sierra club, they got the donation, they should revert back to original stance on lowering immigration or if we had sense, stopping it completely.

  2. avatar

    “a position that alienated us from the population”

    Oh, please. According to opinion polls, only a small % of the public supports higher immigration. It’s always been way more who support lower. They are a joke.

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  4. avatar

    The Sierra Club sellout has been known for years and has done much to erode its credibility. In this, it is merely following the example of the Democratic and Republican Parties, which have been similarly corrupted.

    Clearly, the American people must create new political leadership groups to organize and direct our efforts to preserve the nation and secure our children’s future.

  5. avatar

    The Article Above is Summed up in This Snippet:

    “…In our past, whenever the Sierra Club or any environmental group took a position that alienated us from the population it only made us weaker.”…”

    Sounds like a silver tongued devil lie from the Sierra Club. If supporting amnesty isn’t alienating the Sierra Club from the rest of the nation, what is? I’d love to see a budget report from the Sierra Club donations and how much open border lobbyist loot is pouring into their coffers.

  6. avatar

    Why I am not surprised. Also, being in favor of moderate levels of immigration and no illegal immigration does not make a person a “racist”. Wanting to stabilize our population growth and secure our borders does not mean that I want to reinstate segregation. The US cannot solve all of the problems of the world by bringing every poor person on Earth into our country.

    Over half the world, over 3 billion people, live on less than $2.50 a day. Some 1.1 billion people in developing countries have inadequate access to water, and 2.6 billion lack basic sanitation. The number of children in the world is 2.2 billion and 1 billion (every second child) is in poverty. We cannot solve all of these people’s problems by bringing them into our country, this is impossible. What we can do is assist these people with family planning and their development.

    The idea that we can allow anyone on Earth who can set foot in our country to stay without being destroyed is pure fantasy and not in reality. What happens if there is a massive increase in numbers above what we have already and many, many more millions of people start showing up, whether running across our borders or pregnant Chinese women on airplanes? Things can get much, much worse.

  7. avatar

    Read the “leaked into the press..” link. It contains a quote by David Gelbaum, who gave the 101 million donation to Sierra, and told them that if they took an anti immigration stand he would not give them “a dollar”. The fact is they changed their position AFTER they got the donation. Even streetwalkers are more honest about why they take money.

    The father of Earth Day was the late Senator Gaylord Nelson. He condemned the tactics of Sierra and like organizations for trying to portray calls for immigration slowdowns as racism. So did the late Interior Secretary Stewart Udall, a member of a prominent Democratic political family.

    It’s not just that Sierra took “no position” on the issue. The fact is that the leadership attacked everyone who disagreed, long time members included, as racists. Their record is clear. Give them the cash and they will say what you want. There is no way that continued population growth of 25 to 30 million per decade can possibly be anything but a negative for the environment.