Benjamin Zuckerman, a researcher and professor emeritus in the department of Physics and Astronomy, has served as the president of Californians for Population Stabilization for seven months and on its board for 17 years. And that should worry us all.
Californians for Population Stabilization is a Santa Barbara-based organization that claims to promote the well-being of California’s environment and economy by blaming California’s population growth on immigrants and running ad campaigns that advocate for stricter immigration laws. Californians for Population Stabilization’s targeting of immigrants shouldn’t come as a surprise when one considers its connections to racist-extremist groups like the neo-Confederate group, the League of the South, and its record of hiring a documented neo-Nazi. In fact, the Southern Poverty Law Center classified Californians for Population Stabilization as a one of 79 designated hate groups in California.
Everyone certainly has the right to advocate for what they believe in. But we must stand in opposition when a UCLA research professor actively pushes to remove our fellow classmates and tear us apart. As a recent UCLA alumnus who studied physics, I call on the UCLA student body to stand in support of your fellow immigrant Bruins and reject any rhetoric that unfoundedly alienates them – even if it comes from an esteemed professor.
Having a faculty member leading a hate group planning against student immigrants is frightening. UCLA is world-famous for our ingenious spirit and bold endurance, not for ostracizing students for their status.
Californians for Population Stabilization, however, is antithetical to that embrace of diversity.
Californians for Population Stabilization was co-founded by Garrett Hardin, who, as reported by the Santa Barbara Independent, was classified by SPLC research analyst Stephen Piggott as a “white nationalist” who spearheaded the U.S. nativist movement. Four years ago, Californians for Population Stabilization hired John Vinson, a founding member of the League of the South, as a senior writing fellow and most recently hired neo-Nazi Parker Wilson to join the Californians for Population Stabilization team.
With Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals hanging by a thread and racist hate crimes spiking since President Donald Trump’s election, it is important to remind Californians for Population Stabilization and students that the majority of Californians support some path to citizenship for immigrants – legal or undocumented. Californians for Population Stabilization masks its nativism and xenophobia by claiming to work in favor of the California people – this was made clear from its inception – and we should not be fooled by this.
While the anti-immigrant movement in California has recently been emboldened, I will continue to be a voice for a community that is pro-immigrant and therefore pro-American, and I urge my fellow students to do the same.
We cannot allow racism and xenophobia to persist on a campus that prides itself on its diversity and acceptance.
Prado graduated from UCLA in spring 2017.