Harvard and Yale University professors are advising President Biden to create a “climate visa” and pursue other policies to help Central Americans deal with purported fallout from climate change.
The 90-page report — created in conjunction with the University Network for Human Rights — argues that climate change will displace nearly 4 million people in Central America over the next three decades.
“We cannot wait another twenty-five years to address these issues. The Biden administration must reform our immigration infrastructure now,” said Clinical Professor of Law Deborah Anker at Harvard Law School, a co-author of the report, in a press release.
As explained by the report’s summary, because the United States is “one of the world’s greatest emitters of greenhouse gases” and a contributor to the “political instability in the region,” the United States must bear responsibility in ensuring that “those who are forced to migrate can do so with security and dignity.”
Because “Countries are devastated not only by rapid weather events, but also by slow-moving environmental crises, such as droughts and coastal erosion,” the Biden Administration “should consider making programs such as Temporary Protected Status, Deferred Enforced Departure, and Humanitarian Parole available also to those facing slow-onset events as both urgent and worthy of special attention.”
Additionally, the professors recommended extending emergency disaster aid funds internationally, “broadening the definition of public or national interest to encompass the climate-migration nexus,” and creating a “climate visa” which would offer a path to permanent residency and citizenship.
The report condemned present immigration restrictions intended to slow the spread of COVID-19: “Those fleeing or making the journey to the United States are facing border restrictions and public health regulations that seek to deter movement.”
“People in Guatemala and Mexico have reported reduced access to work and asylum amid the pandemic, lack of mobility, higher levers of anxiety and stress, reduced availability of basic goods, and increased racism and xenophobia,” continued the report.
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