Climate and refugee organizations say Biden has power to help address climate change-driven displacement
WASHINGTON – A cross section of refugee and climate organizations say President Joe Biden can help address refugees driven from their homelands by climate change-related factors by using a number of actions at his disposal.
The International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) released a report on the actions Biden can make on his own without congressional approval to address climate change displacement. Several key climate and refugee organizations have endorsed the report, including the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), University Network for Human Rights; Mayors Migration Council; Truman National Security Project; Amnesty International; and Welcoming America.
“Climate displacement is a huge global challenge,” said Ama Francis, climate displacement project strategist at IRAP. “There are concrete things that the U.S. government can do and there are existing laws that the U.S. can build upon to make sure that all climate displaced people have a safe place to live."
The IRAP report comes as the Biden administration is preparing to release its own report on climate displacement.
The IRAP report calls on the Justice Department to issue an opinion that clarifies that climate change serves as grounds for refugee status under U.S. law. In addition, the report calls on the Biden administration to issue policy guidance for immigration officers and judges on assessing climate-related claims.
The Biden administration should also adopt temporary protected status (TPS) for countries whose citizens are seeing the effects of climate change, such as Guatemala, the report said. The United States awards TPS to people from eligible countries who are facing political conflict or natural disasters and allows people from those eligible countries to live and work in the U.S.
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