Climate Migration and the Future of Immigration Policy in the United States

Mara A. Mahmud
Date of Publication: 
December, 2022
Source Organization: 
Center for Migration Studies

The author of this paper discusses the slow pace of policy development to deal with the worldwide growth of climate-induced migration. Although the federal government produced a groundbreaking study of this phenomenon in 2021, the government has been slow in implementing any policy reforms to reflect this changing world reality. Even the term “climate migrant” is not well-defined. Often there are multiple factors that spur people to leave their homelands. Moreover, there are no formal treaties, agreements, or international standards that govern the response to climate-induced migration. As asylum policy and treaties do not allow for climate change as an allowable reason for legal status, often these migrants are referred to as “economic migrants” and end up in undocumented status. The author references a number of organizations that have put forth proposals to reform and update the asylum system, including creating legal pathways for such migration and expanding the international definition of refugee, to take account of the growing numbers of people worldwide who have been displaced due to climate change.

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Mahmud, M. (2022, December). Climate Migration and the Future of Immigration Policy in the United States. Center for Migration Studies