As the International Climate Summit begins, Senator Markey and Representative Velázquez urge the Biden administration to provide protections for climate-displaced people

Weather-related disasters, drought, famine and rising sea levels have created a humanitarian crisis forcing tens of millions of people to flee their homes every year.

Current U.S. immigration law does not explicitly provide protections for individuals based on weather conditions

Washington (November 1, 2021) – As President Joe Biden attends the 26th Conference of the Parties (COP26) of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change this week, Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass) and Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez (NY-07) today urged her administration to respond and provide assistance to the growing number of climate-displaced people around the world.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees has declared the climate change-induced displacement disaster as the “defining crisis of our time.” Weather-related disasters, drought, famine and sea level rise – all caused by rising global temperatures – have created a widespread humanitarian crisis that is forcing tens of millions of people to leave their homes every year. Current US immigration law does not explicitly provide protections for individuals based on weather conditions. International law is also of limited help as there is no universally accepted definition of climate-displaced persons. Specifically, in letters sent today to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the US Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), lawmakers call on the Biden administration to use existing legal authorities, including provisions relating to concerns. Special Humanitarian Laws of the United States Refugees, Protected Status (TPS) and Delayed Forced Departure (DED) to help climate-displaced people.

“Until Congress can enact specific statutory protections for climate-displaced people, the administration can and should make extensive use of existing authorities to help those suffering from climate change,” he added. the lawmakers said in their letter. “We have a responsibility to close the humanitarian gaps in our immigration system. We can start by bridging the gap for climate-displaced people, who need immediate protection, while Congress works on comprehensive and long-term solutions. ”

A copy of the letter is available HERE.

Other Senators signing the letters include Senators Cory Booker (DN.J.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) And Richard Blumenthal (D -Conn.).

Other members of the House of Representatives who signed the letter include Representatives Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY-14), Eleanor Holmes Norton (DC), Raúl Grijalva (AZ-03), Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), Veronica Escobar (TX- 16), Ann Kirkpatrick (AZ-02), Joaquin Castro (TX-20), Jim McGovern (MA-02), Emanuel Cleaver (MO-05), Grace Meng (NY-06), Jesús G “Chuy” García (IL-04) and Marilyn Strickland (WA-10).

In October, the Biden administration released a report linking the impacts of climate change to migration, marking the first time the U.S. government has officially recognized and reported climate-displaced people.


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