With conflict comes displacement, and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) believes climate change will lead to a rise in climate refugees seeking asylum in the U.S. The agency has already failed in key ways when it comes to its treatment of Haitian migrants seeking asylum in the wake of the country’s Aug. 14 earthquake. Human Rights Watch condemned Border Patrol’s use of agents on horseback to violently harass asylum seekers last month, calling the action “the latest example of racially discriminatory, abusive, and illegal U.S. border policies that are returning people to harm and humanitarian disaster.” DHS failed to detail ways to mitigate such conflicts on the border in its report; instead, it appears to be more focused on how DHS could prevent migrants from even seeking refuge in the first place.
Officials cited by NBC News claim the agency’s slow movement on deportations came down to partisanship, and some officials believe that strategic deportations could have discouraged many Haitians from attempting to enter the U.S.
In terms of domestic issues, there may be no greater example of climate change benefitting the rich than within the purview of the Department of Agriculture. Access to essential resources like water has long been a pet interest of those with the means to control it. Two years ago, a wealthy firm known as Crown Columbia Water Resources set its sights on water rights in Washington state in an effort to profit off of water’s dwindling availability. The company’s speculation led it to pursue rights to a major basin that it would then loan out access to through leases. The USDA appears unwilling to combat such a predatory practice in its report, instead touting conservation efforts and the potential to manage both public and private water resources.
Every aspect of our lives will be impacted by climate change if it hasn’t already. Though the Biden administration is planning for the worst, there may still be hope yet: drastically reducing emissions remains the best possible way to head off some of the worst aspects of climate change, from preventing major loss of ice reserves to ensuring the Amazon rainforest remains biodiverse.
The U.S. could very well lead the charge in combatting climate change, so long as we fully devote our resources to one of the most consequential issues facing us today. Call on lawmakers to support the Build Back Better Act, which will drastically slash emissions and put us on the path towards a cleaner planet.