The Obama administration’s decision Thursday to change deportation policies for nearly one millions illegal immigrant children without an environmental assessment appears to violate the requirements of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).
The act, approved under Republican President Richard Nixon, requires federal departments assess the environmental impact of their proposed policy changes. Despite repeated attempts to get confirmation of compliance, the administration is unwilling or unable to give any evidence of such a review
The administration’s document “A Citizen’s Guide To NEPA” found on the White House website states, “The environmental review process under NEPA provides an opportunity for you to be involved in the Federal agency decision-making process. It will help you understand what the Federal agency is proposing, to offer your thoughts on alternative ways for the agency to carry out what it is proposing, and to offer your comments on the agency’s analysis of the environmental effects of the proposed action and possible mitigation of potential harmful effects of such actions. NEPA requires Federal agencies to consider environmental effects that include, among others, impacts on social, cultural, and economic resources, as well as natural resources.”
The law does allow exclusions, however, such a massive change to immigration law appears not to qualify.
JJChronicles.com has requested information from both the Department of Homeland Security and the White House Council of Environmental Quality regarding the status any environmental review of the change implemented today. Months ago, JJChronicles.com requested via email confirmation from the President’s Council on Environmental Quality that it was examining the administration’s earlier decision not to enforce certain immigration laws, and a spokesperson would not even acknowledge a change in policy.
In an interview last year with JJChronicles.com, a Sierra Club official said the organization board of directors did not track immigration policy and the board of directors made a decision to remain neutral on the subject. The spokesperson said the Sierra Club did oppose the border fence and acknowledged that its members often oppose housing and other infrastructure necessary to serve a growing population, it does not track immigration policy.
“They want to remain neutral on immigration. It is a decision our members have made repeatedly,” the spokesperson said.