Last Thursday, May 18, a guest Op-Ed entitled “President Trump could accidently help protect the environment” by Ryan James Girdusky appeared in the Chelsea Record. It was noted that Mr. Girdusky is a writer based in New York City. We in Chelsea Uniting Against the War (CUAW) believe that Mr. Girdusky’s article is extremely disrespectful and insulting to our Chelsea community.
Chelsea, a city of approximately 40,000, is overwhelmingly a community of immigrants and children of immigrants. Today, the immigrants are mainly from Central America and Africa. Forty years ago, the immigrants were from Puerto Rico. In the last century, Chelsea was home to numerous Jewish immigrants from eastern Europe and Russia.
Most of us are proud that our elected City Council has determined that all Chelsea residents are welcome and voted to make our city a “Sanctuary City” back in 2007. We are pleased that this sanctuary status is actively supported by city administrators, including our city manager and police chief.
Mr. Girdusky’s thesis that “overpopulation” is caused by immigration and that immigration is the major cause of environmental degradation is simply false. The main threat to our environment is unbridled corporate greed within the USA and around the world. That includes the extraction and processing of fossil fuels, automobile and other manufacturing industries, car emissions, adulterated food, etc.
President Trump’s lack of concern for the environment is evident in his appointment of Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As Oklahoma Attorney General, Pruitt, a climate change denier, filed multiple lawsuits against the EPA on behalf of oil, gas and coal industrialists. Pruitt opposes what he calls “unnecessary EPA regulation” and aims to foster “freedom for American businesses.”
Under the Obama Administration, there were over 2.7 million deportations of undocumented immigrants, greater than under any other President in the history of the USA. The present Trump Administration is on the road to beating that outrageous record! The latest government attack is the decision to separate young children from their mothers and fathers fleeing poverty and violence in Central America, coming to the Mexico border to seek asylum in the USA.
The Trump government has also attacked immigrants with legal status. Eight hundred thousand young people brought to the U.S. as children who were protected under DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) are now in limbo. TPS (Temporary Protected Status) for hundreds of thousands from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua, the Sudan and Honduras, who have been working in the US legally for up to 20 years, many married with U.S. citizen-children, has been terminated. Trump has also proposed to eliminate the present system of family-based immigration which dates back to 1965, the right of U.S. citizens to petition for their spouses and/or their children for legal residency and to petition for sisters, brothers, mothers and fathers (with an annual quota set for individual countries so this process can take many years).
The conclusion of Girdusky’s Op-Ed piece is that in order to have a healthy environment, we should support Trump’s proposal to eliminate family-based immigration. This is an attack on our family-centered immigrant-based community!
If you would like to work with CUAW in defense of our community, please contact us on Facebook at Chelsea-Uniting-Against-the-War, e-mail us at [email protected] gmail.com or call 617-889-2841.
Lyn Meza and Fran Roznowski are longtime Chelsea Residents.