Shortly after taking office, Pres. Bill Clinton formed the Council on Sustainable Development to advise him on "bold, new approaches to achieve our economic, environmental, and equity goals." While the Council had a broader range of issues, including energy, transportation, agriculture, the environment and more, the Council did offer several immigration-related recommendations that included reducing overall legal immigration levels.
The Council found that the United States, at the time, was the only major industrialized country in the world experiencing mass population growth. The Council projected that with current 1% annual immigration levels, the population would double over 70 years. The Council also reported on findings by the U.S. Census Bureau that if immigration, fertility, and mortality patterns remained unchanged, the population would exceed 400 million people by 2050. The Census Bureau also concluded that if immigration levels are increased, population could reach 500 million people by 2050.
With regards to immigration policy, the President's Council on Sustainable Development recommended:
- Develop comprehensive and responsible immigration and foreign policies that reduce illegal immigration and mitigate the factors that encourage immigration.
- Increase research on linkages between demographic change, including immigration factors and sustainable development.