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Associate Professor Chhaya Bhardwaj

Please join GW Law's Environmental & Energy Law program as they host a lecture based on the Biden administration's “Report on the Impact of Climate Change on Migration, 2021” and contextualize it in relation to the cross-border migration induced by climate change. There are existing domestic laws in the U.S. to protect immigrants fleeing climate change and environmental disasters in their country of origin. The Report, however, aims at guiding future domestic mechanisms to protect immigrants fleeing climate change under Executive Order (EO) 14013. The Biden Administration, through its EO 14013 in January 2021, had directed the National Security Advisor to prepare a report on the intersection of climate change and migration. The Report was released in October 2021 and consisted of cross-cutting themes that can guide future action plans built on principles of justice and equity, gender equality, and inclusion of marginalized communities. There is compelling evidence that disparate treatment exists in the United States on the basis of nationality, origin, race, and so on against migrants fleeing environmental disasters and climate change in their countries of origin. For example, historically, the United States has protected people disproportionately affected by disasters and ecological crises under domestic laws such as the Azorean Refugees Act 1958. However, the Azorean Refugees Act only covered the Europeans, and ever since, no domestic law has not been extended to protect people fleeing environmental disasters from non-European countries. Today, U.S. domestic laws fail to protect people of all nationalities fleeing environmental difficulties. The existing U.S. Immigration Law sets forth Temporary Protected Status and humanitarian visas that may be applied to protect such cross-border migrants. However, these laws have not been applied equally to vulnerable global communities.

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