U.S COMMITTEE FOR REFUGEES AND IMMIGRANTS
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Climate Displaced Persons Act Would Create Vital New Humanitarian Pathway

By USCRI November 16, 2023

The U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) is pleased that the Climate Displaced Persons Act is being reintroduced in the 118th Congress by Sen. Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Rep. Nydia Velázquez of New York.

Climate-related events like storms, floods, and droughts are increasingly forcing people from their homes across the world. However, many individuals displaced by climate change may not necessarily qualify for existing protections through as refugees.

 

“The CDPA extends protections to marginalized populations in an equitable manner, boosts data monitoring of climate-related displacement, and improves government coordination on climate change resilience. USCRI is proud to support the CDPA.”

-Eskinder Negash, USCRI President and CEO

 

The Climate Displaced Persons Act (CDPA) would address this gap, creating a visa-based process for individuals displaced by climate change to apply for admission to the United States. It would also create a Global Climate Change Resilience Strategy to coordinate government efforts on supporting front-line communities around the world from the harms of climate-related hazards.

While current pathways like the U.S. Refugee Admissions Program and humanitarian parole can be better utilized to offer protection for those who are displaced by climate change, a climate-specific pathway codified in law directly addresses the human mobility impacts of climate change.

“The U.S. government should use its existing tools to extend protection to the increasing number of people displaced by climate-related environmental disasters,” USCRI President and CEO Eskinder Negash said. “But it is clear that a new humanitarian pathway is needed under law.”

“The Climate Displaced Persons Act would make the United States an innovator and a leader in responding to the human rights implications of climate-related events,” Negash added. “The CDPA extends protections to marginalized populations in an equitable manner, boosts data monitoring of climate-related displacement, and improves government coordination on climate change resilience. USCRI is proud to support the CDPA.”

USCRI worked with members of the Refugee Council USA coalition and other organizations to advise the drafting of this version of the CDPA, which was last introduced in 2021.

The CDPA draws upon the latest policy research and advocacy on climate-related displacement, including a reference to USCRI’s joint report with International Refugee Assistance Project and the Human Security Initiative from field research in Tijuana, Mexico.

“We are grateful for the leadership of Sen. Markey and Rep. Velázquez on this issue and their consultations with civil society to strengthen this version of the CDPA,” Negash said.

USCRI will continue to advocate for legal pathways and protections to respond to the displacement and migration impacts of climate change. It will also continue to study policy issues specific to climate vulnerable populations.

 

 

USCRI, founded in 1911, is a non-governmental, not-for-profit international organization committed to working on behalf of refugees and immigrants and their transition to a dignified life.

 

For press inquiries, please contact: [email protected].


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