Thanks to the Trump administration’s efforts to distract people from more important issues, the President’s scapegoating and persecution of immigrants is almost always in the news. These people mostly come to the U.S. because they fear crime and political persecution in their home countries or seek economic opportunities unavailable where they come from. If climate change will be as severe as some expect, in the future many more people may want to enter the country for far more basic needs, like food and water.
As temperatures increase, so do asylum applications from Third World country residents to European nations, according to an article published in the journal Science. Researchers found that from 2000 to 2014, weather changes in 103 source countries translated into asylum applications to the European Union, averaging 351,000 per year.
As the climate warms, researchers estimate that by the end of the century, unchecked climate change could drive a 188% increase in the number of refugees seeking asylum in Europe each year. Migrants will be seeking to escape temperature extremes that will disrupt livelihoods and worsen some of the world’s worst conflicts.
Senior U.S. military officials have raised fears about the potential security impacts of global climate change since the George W. Bush administration, according to Time magazine. A 2014 Department of Defense report stated that climate change is a “threat multiplier” that could cause instability and “can create an avenue for extremist ideologies and conditions that foster terrorism.” A 2015 paper in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences stated that climate change was one reason for the Syrian civil war and the subsequent waves of refugees from it.
Latin America’s climate is changing, according to the World Wildlife Fund. Rain patterns are changing, temperatures are rising and some areas are seeing changes in the number and strength of weather extremes. The impacts range from melting Andean glaciers to devastating floods and droughts. The Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, which surround Central and South America, are warming and becoming more acidic while the sea level also rises.
Researchers are confident that the Amazon region, northeastern Brazil, Central America, the Caribbean and some parts of Mexico will have increased drought conditions over time. If the climate continues to warm, food and water supplies will be disrupted. Towns and cities in Latin America and the infrastructure that sustains them will be increasingly strained as time goes on.
U.S. politicians concerned about increasing immigration may want to spend more time trying to control climate change than building walls or tearing families of asylum-seekers apart. Whatever short-term immigration challenges the country faces now could be far worse in the future.
If you or a loved one lives in Fayette County, Kentucky, or the surrounding area, and you have questions about immigration law or need representation in an immigration matter, Carman & Fullerton can help you, whether you speak English, Spanish or another language. Your future and that of your family is at stake, so contact us today.