Are immigrants to blame for California’s drought?

May 26, 2015

immigrationA statewide media campaign pinning blame for California’s drought on immigrants has kicked off a debate on whether state immigration laws have an affect on water shortages. [LA Times]

Santa Barbara-based Californians for Population Stabilization has long called for tougher immigration laws and stricter enforcement of existing ones. The group, which is known as CAPS, is now running television commercials arguing that California’s natural resources cannot sustain the current levels of population growth.

“If Californians are having fewer children, why isn’t there enough water?,” a young boy asks in a CAPS commercial that has aired across the state.

CAPS is also asking its 128,000 Facebook followers to “Like if you agree California’s drought could have been prevented with responsible immigration policies and limited population growth.”

Some academics and columnists have publicy agreed with the CAPS stance on the drought. Stanford academic Victor Davis Hanson wrote in a National Review column that California has well over 10 million more residents now that it had during the last drought in the early 1990s.

Hanson and others say California census data shows that 1 in 4 residents was born outside of the country.

UCLA astrophysics professor Ben Zuckerman said California’s rapid population growth is essentially due to people coming from other countries, as well as the children of immigrants. Zuckerman, who also sits on the CAPS board, says that impacts the drought.

“The larger the population of California, the more difficult it will be to deal with the effects of the drought,” Zuckerman said.

But, some drought experts disagree and point to other factors as causes of the drought.

NASA climatologist William Patzert said the drought is caused by meager snowpack and poor planning, “not because the immigrants are drinking too much water or taking too many showers.” Blaming the drought on immigrants does not fit the facts, Patzert said.

Others point out that the majority of the state’s water is used to support agriculture and that immigrants tend to live in multi-family dwellings, as opposed to higher-consuming single-family homes. Stephanie Pincetl, a professor at UCLA’s Institute of Environment and Sustainability said Californians would better served by tearing up their lawns than kicking out immigrants who contribute to the economy.

“Do we want to have economic decline?” Pincetl said. “Do we not want to have agriculture? Do we want to not have housekeepers?”



  1. keepthechange says:
    I dont even need to say anything.

    (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
    • unlisted says:

      It would be nice for you to say something since what I see is that Alaska and North Dakota – two thoroughly red states – spend the most per person on welfare.

      I guess folks in those states have a different definition of self reliant than I have.

      Take a look at the other charts at the website. In 2010, Texas actually received more federal handouts per capita than California.

      (0) 0 Total Votes - 0 up - 0 down
  2. keepthechange says:

    Is that conjecture or is it based on real facts? And I am gathering my info from the same media source that you are apparently… (we’re both commenting on the same article) like you I gather info from every source… but apparently, unlike you I research before I comment… the blue states are a strain on themselves, the fed and the red states that have proved time and time again to be self sustaining. I love the U.S. and I’m very sad to see the liberals killing our former free way of life, just to push government reliance on people for the benefit of a ruling party. Very sad, but theres still hope.

    (0) 6 Total Votes - 3 up - 3 down
    • unlisted says:

      Considering your great research skills, it would be nice if your could figure out how to reply to the specific posts you are responding to.

      As for the content of your post, it’s a well known fact that many of those red states that pride themselves as being self sufficient actually prefer to suck on the federal teat. You might check out Wikipedia –

      In 2014, solidly red North Dakota received $7.51 from the feds for every $1 they paid in taxes, South Carolina received $3.29 and Alabama received $2.60. For comparison, California only received $.64 from the feds for every $1 we sent to Washington.

      Sure, there is far from a 100% correlation between red states and receiving more federal money, but the relationship is clear. Republican states tend to be moochers. Of the 10 states that received the highest return on their federal taxes, six voted Republican in every presidential election since 2000 and one voted Republican 3 out of 4 times.

      (-1) 3 Total Votes - 1 up - 2 down
  3. Slowerfaster says:

    Oklahoma and Texas are now drowning with floods.

    By the hate group CAPS’ exploitive conjecture, I guess that means that Texahomie doesn’t have enough immigrants.

    (-6) 8 Total Votes - 1 up - 7 down
  4. OnTheOtherHand says:

    Am I the only one to notice that the headline is misleading? The CAPS group is not claiming that immigrants CAUSED the drought. They are claiming that the excessive population created by illegal immigration makes it much harder to deal with the drought. They greatly exaggerate in this but their argument should be presented fairly in the headline as well as in the text.

    (16) 18 Total Votes - 17 up - 1 down
  5. ml1999 says:

    Of coarse 10-15 million additional inhabitants put a strain on our natural resources, which includes water. This is just common sense. And Mr. Pincetl, we don’t need 15 million people to pick lettuce.

    (15) 17 Total Votes - 16 up - 1 down
    • TiaMiaOhMy says:

      AND – the fact that they’ve come here ILLEGALLY!! That is a huge problem AND that they take advantage of all the “freebies” afforded them AND then the send a lot of their MONEY BACK to their “home country” which those dollars LEAVE OUR ECONOMY and yet they aren’t paying for some of the things they could be paying for. Why is it that people are ok with that? Why is it that their families in another country are more important than MY FAMILY that I’m trying to take of and having to pay more in taxes to support some of the programs that these illegals are mooching off of?? Water is JUST ONE ISSUE that they have burdened! Just add it to the list.

      (5) 9 Total Votes - 7 up - 2 down
      • Slowerfaster says:

        I guess your family is doubly cursed.

        (-5) 7 Total Votes - 1 up - 6 down
  6. indigo1955 says:

    When I read Santa Barbara-based Californians for Population Stabilization — I though the last word was STERILIZATION.

    That’s so Freudian….

    (2) 4 Total Votes - 3 up - 1 down
    • slophocles says:

      That’s what they SHOULD be fighting for – a good abortifacient in the water supplies of the world.

      (2) 2 Total Votes - 2 up - 0 down
      • Slowerfaster says:

        No…that would be cruel and too broad encompassing.

        Should be a required ingredient in corn dogs and cheap beer.

        (-1) 7 Total Votes - 3 up - 4 down

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