|Editions | myCNN | Video | Audio | Headline News Brief | Feedback||
Ads linking 'urban sprawl' with immigration stir controversy in Virginia
WASHINGTON (CNN) -- Urban sprawl conjures up some ugly images: Strip malls and bumper-to-bumper traffic.
You would be hard pressed to find anybody in Loudoun County, Virginia, in favor of it.
So nobody was surprised when local television channels started airing ads last month opposing urban sprawl. Eyebrows were raised, however, by some of the claims in the ads, and by one of the groups paying for them -- the Federation for American Immigration Reform, known by the acronym FAIR.
FAIR is a group favoring restrictions on the United States' immigration policies. But portions of FAIR's ads claiming urban sprawl is caused by immigration are proving controversial.
Paving over the amber waves?
"Ask your elected officials if they think 1 million immigrants a year are too many," said one ad. "How would you feel about paving over the amber waves of grain?"
FAIR and the other anti-immigration groups have spent about $1 million on newspaper, radio, and television ads in the Washington market.
Outraged immigration advocacy groups say the ads are meant to disguise anti-immigrant views.
An extremist agenda?
"I think the ads are soft-peddling an extremist agenda," said Frank Sharry of the National Immigration Forum. "And what they're trying to do is draw people in with a soft pitch. But if you take a look at what their real agenda is, it is hard. It is ugly. And quite frankly, it's very extreme."
Moreover, many groups studying urban growth dispute FAIR's contention that immigration contributes to urban sprawl. In addition, environmental groups such as the Sierra Club and Scenic America say they don't want any help from immigration reform groups.
"Identifying the real causes of sprawl is our top priority. And to distract the public policy world away form the real issue is, I think, a mistake," said Don Chen of Smart Growth America.
But FAIR insists there is a connection between immigration and unchecked development.
"Controlling sprawl means controlling building," said FAIR Executive Director Dan Stein. "Population growth makes that more difficult. What causes population growth? Immigration."
Stein added, "Immigration is directly related to it. We can't sit like ostriches with our heads in the sand any longer."
CNN Correspondent Kate Snow contributed to this report.
Elian case has potential to alter immigration law
Federation for American Immigration Reform
|Back to the top||
© 2001 Cable News Network. All Rights Reserved.|
Terms under which this service is provided to you.
Read our privacy guidelines.