Decades of legal and illegal immigration, expected to surge even higher in the coming years, is destroying the country's environment and the federal government is illegally is turning a blind eye to the problem, according to a new lawsuit filed against the Department of Homeland Security.

In the suit, the Immigration Reform Law Institute charged that DHS has opened the doors to legal and illegal immigration without considering the environmental impact, a strict requirement covering virtually all federal actions.

Legal immigration, said the suit, is causing overpopulation, pollution, congestion. Illegals, meanwhile, are destroying the border environment with garbage, wild fires and trampling rare species and plants.

"DHS, like its predecessor agency, the Immigration and Naturalization Service (INS), has never considered or analyzed the enormous impacts to the human environment caused by legal and illegal immigration," according to the suit, previewed for Secrets Monday. It is being filed Monday.

It charges that DHS is ignoring the National Environmental Policy Act, which for 46 years has protected the public against environmentally damaging policies and actions.

The group said that immigration and the huge population boom it has brought is wreaking havoc on the U.S. environment.

From their statement to Secrets:

Between 1990 and 2010, the US population grew by over over 61 million people due to expansive immigration policies and lax enforcement–yet even over this intense period of immigration, DHS (and the INS before it) has ignored NEPA's requirement to conduct analysis on the environmental impacts of its policies. Disturbingly, U.S. total population will grow to almost 417 million by 2060—108 million more than in 2010. Immigration will account for about 80% of our population growth in the coming decades.

As a result of the INS and DHS's failure to abide by NEPA, communities across America are being harmed and overwhelmed by damage to air quality; increasing urban sprawl; increasing demand for water; increasing water pollution; exacerbated traffic congestion; school overcrowding; loss of green space, farmland, forests and wildlife, and other non-renewable resources. Also, when massive numbers of people cross the border illegally, they leave a host of environmental impacts in their wake, such as: the destruction of native species and habitats by trampling over the native vegetation; garbage dumping on a massive scale; water pollution; fires for the purposes of heat, cooking, or to distract Border Patrol agents (many of which turn out of control and destroy vast swaths of native land); not to mention the destruction of property, livestock, and the peaceful enjoyment of personal property.

Read the full release here.

Paul Bedard, the Washington Examiner's "Washington Secrets" columnist, can be contacted at pbedard@washingtonexaminer.com