Joe Kennedy III Says Decarbonization, Lessening Drug Use Key To Curbing Mass Migration

Printed from:

Do you think immigration and the environment intertwine in politics?

U.S. Representative Joseph P. Kennedy III (D-Newton) does.

At a campaign stop in Bourne near the Cape Cod Canal over the weekend, a New Boston Post reporter asked Kennedy, who has a career F rating from the immigration-restrictionist NumbersUSA, about the two.

Kennedy was asked about how reported rising global temperatures have damaged economies of countries in Latin America and created climate migrants who come to the United States — legally and illegally — and emit more carbon into the atmosphere, exacerbating the problem for their native countries. The question was about how to break this cycle and curb mass migration, since Kennedy is not in favor of a U.S. border wall, E-Verify, or reducing legal immigration, and views federal Immigration and Customs Enforcement unfavorably. 

Kennedy accepted the premise of the question and said there are a few factors at play.

“The fact is that climate change is a global issue,” Kennedy said during the appearance Saturday, August 8 at Herring Run Recreation Area. “We need to have cooperation in the economic revolution that’s needed to transition us off of carbon emission. As we do that, we need a far better foreign policy in Latin America that actually helps root out corruption and issues like human trafficking and drug trafficking. We need a situation that stabilizes those countries and their companies so people will invest back into them so that people don’t feel like they have to leave in order to have a better life.”

Kennedy also said that part of solving that problem is curbing drug addiction in the United States.

“To the extent that money from drugs fuels basically what’s a corrupt system, that’s a demand-driven epidemic,” he said, referring to the drug-producing cultures many migrants come from to the drug-consuming United States. “Until we clean that up on our streets, there’s still gonna be problems. If you want to address the issues of why migrants are leaving, it has to do with addiction and deaths as well as poverty driven by corruption.”

The average American emits 14.6 tons of carbon into the atmosphere, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. That is significantly higher than the average in Mexico (3.6 tons) and Central American countries, where the average is all below 1.6 tons per year. That’s because people in the United States have more access to carbon-emitting items like automobiles and air conditioning.

The average immigrant — legal and illegal — emits four times more carbon into the atmosphere while in the United States than that person would in his native country, according to the Center for Immigration Studies. That number is likely even higher for people coming from many Latin American countries, where carbon emissions are lower because the economy is less developed than in some other countries of origin.

If reported climate change trends continue between now and 2050, climate alone will put an additional three million Latin American immigrants — more than two million of which could be illegals — into the country, according to The New York Times. That’s on top of all of the other reasons for immigration to the United States, such as this country’s relatively stable government, generous welfare programs, widespread free public education, and frequent periods of economic growth.

In recent years, some Central American countries have faced increased crop failure, in part due to rising global temperatures, according to PBS. Coffee beans are one of the crops most affected by rising temperatures. The National Center for Environmental Information reported in 2018 that the average global temperature has increased by 0.31 degrees Fahrenheit each decade since 1980.

As for corruption, three of the top 10 most corrupt countries in US News and World Report’s rankings are within Latin America:  Colombia, Mexico, and Brazil. Colombia is also the biggest producer of cocaine in the world.

Kennedy supports the Green New Deal, which, among other things, seeks to transition the United States away from carbon-based energy sources such as oil, natural gas, and coal over 10 years. Its cost is unknown, but some estimates put it between $5.1 to $9.3 trillion per year if fully enacted, according to That alone is more than the federal government’s fiscal year 2019 budget, which was about $4.4 trillion against about $3.5 trillion in tax revenue. That resulted in a $984 billion deficit, according to the Congressional Budget Office.

Kennedy is running for U.S. Senate against incumbent Democrat Ed Markey. The primary is scheduled for September 1.

The winner of that race will face whomever the Republicans end up nominating:  most likely either Dover attorney Kevin O’Connor or Belmont resident Shiva Ayyadurai, who ran as an independent in 2018. Neither has ever held elected office.