Californians for Population Stabilization (CAPS) says it wants to stop population growth to protect California’s environment and economy. But CAPS works with known white nationalists and neo-nazis, suggesting its anti-immigrant townhalls are about more than the environment. In fact, CAPS was listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center this year. In response, UCLA research professor and CAPS president Ben Zuckerman absurdly claims love is the driving force behind CAPS’s mission.

As a Santa Barbara native and UCLA undergrad from 2010, my core shook reading this article. I am an immigrant, brought here as an undocumented child. Although our birthplaces are different, we are all proud Americans who do not deserve to feel like we are the root of the state’s problems after spending decades helping to build the sixth largest economy in the world.

California leads in ingenuity and forward-thinking policy. Its residents recognize the positive impacts that immigrants have on the state’s well-being. Certainly Santa Barbara is no exception. Among Californians, 85 percent want a path to citizenship for undocumented immigrants, and 58 percent disapprove of a travel ban on Muslims. Yes, California’s population is bigger than before, but stating that our issues are directly linked to immigration shadows multiple factors to avoid bringing light to the real culprit of this claim: xenophobia.

I refuse to allow my hometown and state from becoming a hub for hate groups preaching nativism. I implore you to join me in keeping California’s gracious character alive.

Eder Gaona-Macedo is executive director of Future Leaders of America.


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