This post on Alternet caught my attention with it’s headline and subtitle, but let me down in the discussion: “Uncovering the Racism of Population Politics: The anti-immigrant movement pushes racist policies and ideals in order to promote larger white families and smaller black and brown ones.”

In a nutshell, anti-immigrant forces want to repeal the law that gives anyone born on U.S. soil citizenship as a birthright. The author then says this is racist, as mainly non-white immigrants are having larger families and it would turn their children into a sort of nation-less underclass (reminding me a lot of the story I linked to in the Daily Bruin).

Ok – yes, this kind of law would disproportionately affect non-white people. The effect is racist in that sense. But is that it’s intent? No, it’s intent is to be asshole-ish and rip away a right the U.S. has done fine with for all of it’s history – to build xenophobia, and put the children of immigrants at a distinct disadvantage somehow hoping that will keep their parents from coming in the first place (dubious btw.) This policy would also probably have a disproportionate effect on, say, Catholics from Latin America, but that doesn’t mean it’s intent is Anti-Catholic. Does that make sense?

The author claims it’s intent is in fact racist because anti-population growth people aren’t screaming about the birth rates of, for example, the very white Mormons or certain sects of fundamentalist Christianity in the U.S.

Whoa! Wait a minute, I thought we were talking about anti-immigration legislation, but then the author frames the argument against those who want to curb population growth? These two arguments should not be conflated. As far as I know, most responsible people who want to curb population want to curb everyone’s population, no matter the color, they believe there’s too many of us on this earth. Immigration politics doesn’t in essence have much to do with population curbing – it has less to do with the number of us on this planet in total and more to do with where we’re located and why. If anything, immigration to richer countries could lead to a net decline in population among those immigrant groups, since it is evident around the world that the better off people are economically and educationally (especially women) the lower the birth rates.

Maybe I’m way off here but confusing the rights of people to move with the idea that there are too many of us anywhere on this planet doesn’t seem to be helpful to either debate.