Sending Office: Honorable Nydia M. Velazquez
Endorsed by: Refugees International, Human Rights First, Oxfam, Foreign Policy for America, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service, Church World Service, International Refugee Assistance Project, International Rescue Committee, U.S. Committee for
Refugees and Immigrants, the Massachusetts Immigrant and Refugee Advocacy Coalition, and the National Partnership for New Americans
Original Cosponsors: Rep. Grace Napolitano
By the end of this century, people across the globe will be forced to involuntarily leave their home due to an environmental impact that renders their home uninhabitable. Rising sea levels, wildfires, drought or a slow-moving hurricane can all threaten human
life as surely as a bomb. But unlike victims of war for whom the causes and effects of the threats are clear and codified, there are no protections for environmental migrants.
There are currently more than 70.8 million forcibly displaced people worldwide. Since 2009, a disaster has displaced an estimated one person every second, with an average of 22.5 million people displaced by
climate or weather-related events since 2008. Forced migration is increasing in the context of environmental changes and climate-induced disruptions, including weather-related disasters, drought, famine, and
rising sea levels. According to UN International Organization for Migration, by 2050, there may be as many as 200 million climate-displaced persons.
Climate-displaced persons often lack any formal protection under U.S. or international law. While the effects of climate change can aggravate societal tensions that lead to persecution, many climate-displaced persons do not meet the definition of refugee.
As such, they cannot access resettlement opportunities in the United States.
This legislation takes on the shared responsibility of climate change adaptation, global disaster risk reduction, resiliency building, and disaster response and recovery; and assists in providing durable solutions for climate-displaced persons.
Specifically, the bill directs the Secretary of State, in coordination with the USAID Administrator, to devise a Global Climate Resilience Strategy. With respect to those needing durable resettlement solutions, the bill creates a new humanitarian program
for those who have been displaced by environmental disasters or climate change. This program will function separate from the U.S. refugee admissions program but will afford the same benefits.
For this reason, I am introducing the Climate Displaced Person’s Act of 2019
legislation that will welcome immigrants who are seeking refuge from inhospitable climate change conditions.
In a climate change era, lack of government policy can be directly responsible for death, destruction and impoverishment. But those don’t count as human rights violations when nature is the weapon.
I hope you can stand with me in aiding communities whose livelihoods have been impacted by climate change. For more information on the bill, please contact Rumer LeGendre at
Rumer.LeGendre@mail.house.gov or Monica Garay at Monica.Garay@mail.house.gov or Jonathan Martinez at Jonathan.Martinez@mail.house.gov .
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