Points Well Taken! John Tanton and Gov. Richard Lamm on immigration

By Wayne Lutton
Volume 27, Number 1 (Fall 2016)
Issue theme: "When robots replace humans"

Negative Population Growth (NPG.org) included the following observations by John Tanton and Richard Lamm in The Best of NPG: Celebrating 40 Years of Working Towards a Sustainable U. S. Population, published in 2012 (Negative Population Growth, Inc., 2861 Duke Street, Suite 36, Alexandria, VA 22314). We are pleased to share these sensible thoughts with our readers:


Every nation has the right to limit immigration, to determine who shall and shall not be allowed to enter, to remain within its borders, and to be a member of its polity. The U.S. is not an exception to this rule. It has the right to deny entry to those who insist upon it. Citizens of other countries do not have the “right” to migrate here; they come here by permission.

—John Tanton
NPG Newsletter

Spring 1982

Many who favor unlimited, unrestricted immigration to the United States are sincere humanitarians. They focus their concerns on the comparatively small number who manage to emigrate to the United States. But what of the plight of the millions of unseen countrymen left behind to live with conditions that the emigrants might have helped change?

Open immigration policies in the U.S. contribute significantly to what the Christian Science Monitor has called the “brain, brawn, and gumption drain,” of less developed countries. Contrary to popular belief, it is not the destitute who emigrate. More often it is the energetic, the talented, the skilled, and the educated who have the means and the initiative to leave their native lands.

With the United States acting as a “safety valve,” the elites in these nations are able to avoid seeking solutions to their problems of underdevelopment and hopelessness for the masses of people who will never be able to emigrate.

—John Tanton
NPG Newsletter

Summer 1983

America is no longer a frontier, and our expansion is no longer boundless. We cannot absorb the hundreds of millions of poor people throughout the world who, quite understandably, would love to settle in this country. Our increasingly scarce resources, our own multiple economic problems, are already substantial enough without encouraging the entrance of many millions of new immigrants who would compound these problems and diminish our standard of living significantly. We must summon the will and the political courage to examine closely how many we can absorb into our economy and assimilate into our culture. We must set those limits into law. And we must enforce that law.

—Former Colorado Gov. Richard Lamm

NPG Newsletter

Winter 1981

About the author

Wayne Lutton, Ph.D., is editor of the Social Contract