The Immigration and Population Link

Carl Pope's Opinion page assessment, "Sierra Club: Birth Control, Not Border Patrol," (May 7), on the vote by Sierra Club members not to endorse immigration reduction in order to stop United States population growth, is glib but disingenuous.

The vote amounts to a de facto endorsement of rapid, unending US population growth - now nearly 3 million a year - and its inevitable environmental consequences for this country's environment and the world's.

Well-meaning idealists and "globalists" within the Club assert that migration across borders decreases when family planning needs, maternal and infant health care, empowerment of women, human rights, and various other conditions are met. Fine. All sides in this debate agree those are worthy goals and should be pursued for their own sake.

But as a former Peace Corps volunteer, I would caution those who may be inclined to exaggerate the potential leverage, for good or ill, of US foreign policy in these matters. Efforts to involve ourselves in the sensitive reproductive policies and decisions of foreign countries and cultures invariably invite charges or at least suspicion of interventionism and genocide.

Thanks in part to decades of efforts by population and family planning activists, the world's average total fertility rate has declined 40 percent over the last 45 years. But has immigration to the US diminished in tandem with declining global birth rates and unprecedented economic growth in many developing countries? Not by a longshot. In fact, over this same period total immigration has quadrupled, and now accounts for 60 percent of annual US population growth.

Unfortunately, the Sierra Club has chosen to substitute wishful thinking for a more comprehensive, effective population policy.

Leon Kolankiewicz


Vice President and Network Coordinator

Carrying Capacity Network

Sierra Club member

Not all skinheads are created equal

I have one small problem with "Hard Times Help Hard Right in East Germany" (May 4), regarding the neo-Nazi skinheads.

A couple of times in the article, the term "skinhead" was used without any qualifying statement preceding it. This could cause a lot of confusion for people who think anyone with a shaved head is a Nazi.

There are various other groups of skinheads that do not represent the neo-Nazi organization, such as the SHARPs, Skin Heads Against Racial Prejudice. Many other organizations of "skinheads" are non-violent, non-racist, non-fascist organizations. I am not missing the obvious fact that anyone reading the article knows which group you mean, but just a word of caution so people don't get confused.

David LeBlanc

Rochester, N.Y.

The taxpayers once saved Chrysler

Regarding "Rise of Borderless Corporation" (May 8): No one seems to be speaking to a very real and bothersome issue about the Daimler-Benz-Chrysler merger - the fact that American taxpayers were coerced into paying a giant subsidy for the Chrysler Corp. to avoid bankruptcy.

Now, some 19 years later, don't the taxpayers deserve a share of the profits, particularly in light of the fact that this is the purchase of an American corporation by a German "competitor"? Of course, only shareholders in a corporation can benefit directly in any transaction, but we should attempt to acknowledge the fact that this company would not be around if not for the subsidy. I was 20 in 1980, and this was a huge topic of consideration for my father and his small-business associates.

Bob White

Los Angeles

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