EurASP Statement on Migration

The European Alliance for a Sustainable Population (eurASP) is a coalition of groups with the mission to raise awareness about the impact of human population, its size and density, on planet Earth. It includes groups from seven European countries. Recently they issued the following statement on migration.

by The European Alliance for a Sustainable Population

An honest constructive dialog around immigration is today as important as it is difficult. It is important because migratory flows – which have always existed in history – today have reached an unprecedented scale, deeply affecting demography, environment and societies.

It is difficult because immigration is a sensitive and highly polarized topic: on the one hand, the populist defenders of cultural identity stand up for immigration controls based on ethnic and cultural criteria; on the other hand, the advocates for an unconditional acceptance of all immigrants stifle any criticism with accusations of racism or “ecofascism”.

In such an intoxicated climate, we in eurASP distance ourselves from both sides. We fully recognize the right of migrating but we also recognize the risks of an excessive and uncontrolled immigration. We recognize the duty of Europe to help developing countries but we believe that welcoming immigrants is neither an effective way to help them nor a way to solve the long-term problems at the root of migratory flows.


Immigration is not a solution for the countries where immigrants come from

Of all the people born in developing countries, only a very small percentage is able to emigrate elsewhere (Cafaro 2019). By welcoming immigrants, we can hence help only a tiny fraction of people from developing countries and, most of the times, such a tiny fraction does not represent people who need it most: many immigrants are relatively privileged, rich and better-educated people.

Their skills would be much more needed in their own countries. Developing nations cannot afford to train doctors and nurses who leave for better paying jobs in wealthier countries (Tulenko 2010). This clearly indicates that welcoming immigrants not only does not solve the problems driving migration but may also exacerbate them.

More and better targeted aid in developing countries will be a much more effective help, also alleviating the often-traumatic necessity for people to leave their homes. Providing universal contraception is one of the most effective forms of aid in terms of social, economic and environmental benefit for the origin country (Lomborg 2018).


Immigration is not a solution for the countries where immigrants come to

Many people are concerned about the economic consequences of low fertility and ageing population in Europe and see immigrants as a tool to fill the expected shortage of workers. But accommodating ever-more people to sustain an ever-growing society is not a solution: it is just a delusional temporary fix, which fuels a Ponzi scheme that is clearly not sustainable in the medium/long term.

On the contrary, immigration may exacerbate actual problems that many European countries are facing today, such as shortage of resources (especially energy and water) and excess of unemployed. Accepting more immigrants than can integrate creates social conflicts, whose first victims are often the immigrants themselves. Vice versa, limiting the number could facilitate their integration.

It is worth noticing that the concerns about population decline and its economic implications are not supported by evidence. Indeed, the poorest countries of the world are not countries with shrinking populations but, on the contrary, are all countries with high fertility and rapid population growth with the only exception of North Korea (source: World Bank). Vice versa, Japan is still one of the wealthiest and most innovative countries in the world although its population has been ageing and shrinking for more than a decade.


Immigration undermines environmental sustainability

Europe is a high densely populated continent and is currently in an ecological overshoot, since its ecological footprint exceeds its biocapacity (source: GFN). While some people argue that the only driver for environmental impact is over-consumption, IPCC reports recognize population growth as one of the main drivers of the global increase in greenhouse gas emissions (IPCC 2022). Other environmental impacts, such as water withdrawals from rivers, conversion of wildlands to crop lands and biodiversity losses, are even more affected by population growth. According to the anthropologist McKee, human population density of continental countries explains 88% of the variation in the proportion of their bird and mammal species threatened with extinction. In the last three decades, rich countries reduced on average their per capita emissions but failed to reduce their total emissions, which shows that even a relatively small population growth can nullify the effect of a reduction in individual impacts (Tamburino 2023).

All this clearly indicates that it is hard to achieve environmental sustainability if population keeps growing.

The main driver for population growth in Europe is currently immigration. It would be hence important to limit immigration and set it at levels that allow for population contraction. Combined with a reduction in per capita consumption, this would make it easier to reduce our environmental impacts, share our land with nature and wildlife (Navarro 2014) and mitigate climate change. This would be beneficial for everybody not only in Europe but also and especially in poorer countries, where many immigrants come from and which are often the most vulnerable to climate change.



Anti-immigration positions are usually equated to racism. It is time to break such a dangerous equation. There are reasons to support immigration that are anything but humanitarian: many people want immigrants just to exploit them and see them as an opportunity of cheap labour. Vice versa, there are reasons to support lowering immigration that are anything but racist: good, environmental and humanitarian reasons.

It is time to raise awareness of this so that we can concentrate on the root of the problem instead of its symptoms.



  • Cafaro, P. and O’Sullivan, J., 2019. “Ecological Citizens and Immigration.” The Ecological Citizen Volume 3 No 1 (
  • IPCC, 2022. Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change. Working group III contribution to the IPCC Sixth Assessment Report, p.541.
  • Lomborg, B., 2018. Prioritizing Development. Cambridge University Press.
  • Navarro, L.M. and Pereira, H.M., 2015. “Rewilding Abandoned Landscapes in Europe.” In Rewilding European Landscapes (Springer), pp.3-23.
  • Tamburino, L., Cafaro, P. and Bravo, G., 2023. “An Analysis of Three Decades of Increasing Carbon Emissions: The Weight of the P Factor.” Sustainability, 15 (4), p.32-45.
  • Tulenko, K., 2010. “Countries Without Doctors? How Obama care could spark the brain drain of physicians from the developing world.” Foreign Policy, June, 11, 2010.
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13 thoughts on “EurASP Statement on Migration

  1. Let me remind that it is MEDIA–especially Big 6 Media–that put the connotation of “racism” on such positions and that, globally (thanks to deregulation) media are owned by those who PROFIT from high immigration.

    Let me also remind that none other than CORETTA SCOTT KING worked for low immigration, fighting a bill by Orin Hatch, R.-Utah to allow illegals to work “legally.” She helped defeat this bill, with her stating it was another example–as Booker T. Washington had pointed out a hundred or so years earlier–of wanting to hire anyone but blacks, as they sat unemployed and employers screamed “worker shortages.”

    Let me also remind that the U.S. in particular CANNOT solve climate change (in ours the highest per-capita carbon nation on Earth) and explode our population by 3 million to 4 million A YEAR, that is, if you believe 11,000 climate scientists who ATTEMPTED to convince Biden his immigration policy was counterproductive–that is IF, he is really sincere about fighting climate change, and I’ve seen no evidence of that whatsoever.

    Let me also remind that this is EXACTLY the scenario that Paul Ehrlich (You know? The guy that media tried to discredit on every front!) warned of in his book THE POPULATION BOMB. He predicted that, at first, nations would be welcoming and then they’d increasingly discourage immigration and then start building walls and putting tanks on borders.

    But then, no THINKING person can believe there is ANY real solution in the world’s billions of impoverished people by their just moving to richer countries. We should have, 40 or 50 years ago, focused solely on helping them find solutions “in situ,” rather than pretending we can welcome them all to developed nations. And I find it telling that those who care oh so much about the world’s poor give almost no thought to the fact that many of them have no access to contraceptives.

  2. It should be noted that the main reason people, from developing countries immigrate to developed countries is ti increase their carbon footprint. From early times it was thought that in urban areas the streets were paved with gold and that is where one needed to be to secure their future. In today’s world this kind of thinking is spread by traffickers who make their money exploiting others. As you said a big portion of the corporate controlled media only talks about the good side and forgets about any externalities. Simple things, like e-verify and limiting immigrant levels, are condemned by the corporations. There was a recent report in the NY Times, “Making deliveries: Promise and perils for migrants” that highlighted the horrible conditions faced by many immigrants and, who bring their families, have it even worse than the ones who come alone. I wrote a letter to our local paper, Seattle Times, and it was actually printed.
    Wouldn’t it be nice if we connected our donations to the poorer countries with their fertility rates. The smaller the fertility rate the more the donation. I, for one, refuse to give for any hunger programs but do donate to such groups as Engenderhealth.

    1. Jack, good that you are weighing in within your community; that’s important to spread the word about the impacts of excessive immigration and its contribution to population growth

      1. Philip, My late partner was an immigrant from Iran. From not knowing one word of English in five years she graduated from a university with a BA in early childhood. She went on to get her masters and was a prized teacher for an international public school in the Seattle district. I heard a lot of stories of how people who had been here for years still did not know the language. She understood the immigration problem and was very vocal in her criticisms. She and her husband came on a student visa in 1977 and when the revolution hit in 1979 she knew she could never go back and went through the process of getting citizenship for the family (4). She struggled for years but it finally was realized but, later, she would see how people came here and hid out for several years. Later amnesties were granted for these people and my partner was angry. They did the work obeyed the laws and others got a free pass. I used to hear this complaint on NPR but, as of late, not a word. What most don’t bother to understand is the tremendous cost to assimilate people from other countries and cultures. translations, interpreters, night schools, the list goes on. We’re also having to deal with cultural differences, some of which are huge and illegal (female circumcision for example). At one time I moved to Germany and decided to stay. I had to also go through a procedure in order to get my aufenthalterlaubnis (visa). Get a background check, provide a doctors report, promise to not take work away from a German provide proof of residence and open a closed bank account. I was to provide a home of record and the cost of deporting me, should the need arise, would go from that account. I have a basic understanding of what people go through to be allowed to stay, legally, in a country.

  3. This piece is spot on and should be widely publicized and enter European (and American) public opinion as a basic understanding of how the world works. I visited Norway a few years ago with my Norwegian American partner. It struck me that Norway sent many migrants to the U.S. before 1930. About 400,000 in fact. Sweden 800,000. Germany 7 million, Italy 5 million, Ireland 3 million. Now net migration from Europe to America, without border walls, is near net zero. Clearly cutting fertility rates makes countries richer and greatly reduces migration pressures. Europe would be well advised to give 20 times more family planning aid to African countries who seek the “demographic dividend.” USAID programs helped countries like Mexico, Brasil, and many others get fertility down to replacement levels. Family planning aid is a humane win-win solution. A rapid fertility transition in Africa would be one of the least costly and most beneficial climate strategies, offering a long term, permanent solution to mass migration.

    1. The irony is that the parties that are saying they want to bring down immigration levels are also pro-natalist parties. I think that this is one of the reasons why they don’t support the win-win policy of helping poorer countries lower their fertility rates. It would be weird to do one thing at home and the opposite abroad. Although of course, our politicians these days do all sort of weird self-contradictory stuff, and they don’t lose their job anyway.

      1. One huge problem with this issue is both sides resort to the emotional response. Even the word overpopulation brings on eye rolls and negative emotions. I have started using the term population demographics. All of us on this site understand the importance of reason and evidence but, unfortunately, we are in the minority.

  4. It is time to raise awareness of this . . .

    Most media wants more readers, more listeners, more viewers. Populationists must find a way to speak to those readers, listeners, and viewer . . . constantly!!!

  5. Jack, emotions aren’t necessary bad. The idea of a world where nature thrives, is there for all of us to see and enjoy, and humans are in smaller numbers and children healthy and well-fed, brings positive emotions to me.

  6. I totally agree but emotions have their place. In the world of today we can readily see how emotions are being used to sway and influence people to a certain side. Population demographics is a science and, as such, needs a baseline of facts and reason.

  7. Jack, you mentioned above that you avoid the word overpopulation. I think it’s important to use it, but to give a good definition. In TOP, we have started to define it as “too many consuming too much”. This meets the typical comment “no, it’s all about consumption by the rich”. Then, one may specifiy the context. If discussing the decline of biological diversity, for instance, we can specify/define overpopulation as “too many consuming too much, reducing the living space for other file forms and damaging ecosystems”

  8. I have had lots of situations where just mentioning overpopulation eyes start to roll. In one case I was hosting a speaker for overpopulation. This was a large group who had a 7 series program on the environment. One woman came to the speaker and told him she was sitting on the end of the row and was ready to leave because of the topic. Luckily, the guy knew his stuff and he kept the class in their seats. Still, the negative image is there.

  9. Frank and Jack, I don’t think we should always pander to people’s prejudices, let them decide what we can and cannot talk about. If they roll their eyes and leave and protest etc when someone says “overpopulation”, we’ll keep talking about it until it’s hard to avoid the subject! As long as it’s respectful and you are not forcing people to listen to you, of course.
    Taboos are taboos because everyone respects them as such; once they are out in the open, they are not taboos anymore. Think about sex: it was once taboo in our societies, now it’s everywhere (even too much sometimes). You need to be brave and keep pushing.
    It’s important to give a correct definition and to turn people’s prejudices, manipulations and intellectual dishonesty on their head. I don’t want to go there again, it’s *just an example*, but it’s the same when talking about Israel and antisemitism. People use “antisemitic” as a conversation-stopper, knowing no one wants to be labelled that, so we need to talk about it even more and more openly, not to be afraid of it – something like “I don’t think this means what you think it means”, let me tell you what I mean exactly.
    Overpopulation, like many other topics, is very complex. You are not going to give one definition or convince someone in one conversation, the same way you couldn’t have gone up to a slave owner and said: ‘what you are doing is wrong, slaves are humans just the same as us’, and expected them to say: ‘you know what, I think you’re right!’ An unjust system relies on a lifetime of programming that takes a long time to undo. It takes many conversations, many angles, much evidence, much patience to convince people to go against everything they’ve been told for their whole lives. We need to keep talking.

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