Mon, Oct 17th 2016 @ 5:47 pm EDT

The Washington Examiner reports the Immigration Reform Law Institute (IRLI) and a number groups are suing the Department of Homeland Security, alleging that its policies did not take into consideration the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act. Julie Axelrod, IRLI’s lead counsel on the case, said, “Our lawsuit will demonstrate that legal and illegal immigration have a very significant impact on the environment, which DHS has spent the last 46 years ignoring.”

The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) requires “any agency considering an action that will affect the environment to analyze and publicize those effects.” The plaintiffs say DHS, and the Immigration and Naturalization Service before it, ignored NEPA’s requirement to conduct analysis on the environmental impacts of its policies between 1990 and 2010, a time when the US population grew by over over 61 million people. The U.S. total population will grow to almost 417 million by 2060 and immigration will account for about 80% of that growth.

The plaintiffs charge that the failure to abide by NEPA has “harmed and overwhelmed” communities with: “damage to air quality; increasing urban sprawl; increasing demand for water; increasing water pollution; exacerbated traffic congestion; school overcrowding; loss of green space, farmland, forests and wildlife; and other non-renewable resources.”

Moreover, they argue, massive illegal immigration has caused: “the destruction of native species and habitats by trampling over the native vegetation; garbage dumping on a massive scale; water pollution; fires for the purposes of heat, cooking, or to distract Border Patrol agents (many of which turn out of control and destroy vast swaths of naive land); not to mention the destruction of property, livestock, and the peaceful enjoyment of personal property.”

The plaintiffs include the Whitewater Draw Natural Resource Conservation District, Hereford Natural Resource Conservation District, Arizona Association of Conservation Districts, Californians for Population Stabilization, Scientists and Environmentalists for Population Stabilization, New Mexico Cattle Growers Association, and Floridians for Sustainable Population. Former Colorado Gov. Richard Lamm (D), also a plaintiff, called ignoring NEPA “environmental malpractice.”

The suit was brought in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California.

Read more in the Washington Examiner or see the IRLI press release.

Urban Sprawl