After the United States saw its highest annual number of border detentions since 1986, the Biden administration is now “officially acknowledging and reporting” the linkage between migration and climate change.
Border PatrolArrests reached a record high of 1.7million during the fiscal year 2021, which concluded in September.
Officials rolled out a number of government analyses aimed at tackling climate change, which President Biden has warned will be the “greatest threat” to America’s national security in the coming years.
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Official: “It’s definitely a security concern.”
The analyses fulfill requirements of Biden’s Jan. 27 executive order on tackling climate change – as well as his Feb. 29 executive order to rebuild and enhance programs to resettle refugees and plan for the “impact of climate change on migration.”
The officials stated that the analyses would serve as a basis for their critical climate and security work moving forward.
The Department of Homeland Security has announced its new “strategic Framework” for tackling climate change. This framework will focus on: “empowering individuals, communities and building readiness to respond to increased climate-driven emergencies; “incorporating climate science into policy programs and budgets; investing in DHS which is sustainable and resilient; “ensuring that the DHS workforce “is informed by climate change.”
Officials claimed that DHS’s analysis and assessment was “the first time” the U.S. has officially recognized and reported on the relationship between climate change, migration.
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A government official stated, “The report recognizes migration as an important type of adaptation to the impacts of climate change” and that it is also an essential response in cases where there are climate threats to life and health. He added that immigration was not a “purely positive coping mechanism.”
An official stated that the administration’s goal was to “ensure that any migration is done in an orderly, safe and humane manner for all reasons.”
Officials stated that the DHS analysis required the development humanitarian assistance programs “to help address the underlying reasons for forced migration” as well as “displacement face to insecurity.” Officials stated that it would also examine how individual human security could decrease the possibility of migration.
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According to the official, “It’s important that we approach these efforts in such a manner that recognizes that in most cases, climate changes are not the only driver of migration.” The United States has an urgent national interest in strengthening international protections for people and groups who have been affected by climate change.
Official added that the Administration is working to find ways to use “existing protection frameworks” within the context of climate-related displacement to identify “gaps”, where the United States could create “new legal paths to protect” migrants affected by climate change.
Official said that the National Security Council has established a “standing”, interagency work group on climate and migration. Meanwhile, the director of National Intelligence will be responsible for the creation of the first-ever national intelligence estimate regarding climate change.
Kamala Harris, the Vice President, was assigned earlier this year to tackle “root causes of migration.” The strategy she released in June was to deal with the issue. While Harris did not link climate to migration, she mentioned “extreme temperature,” “extensive damage from storms,” and the “climate resilient” issue. Critics claim Harris is not doing enough to address the crisis, given new evidences of border arrests at record highs.
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According to the official, “Climate Change will increase a variety of risks to U.S. National Security Interests,” noting that the impact of climate change on the “increased Geopolitical Tension” caused by countries competing in an “ensuing energy transformation”, the official added.
The administration also is releasing an analysis from the Defense Department – the first from the Pentagon focusing on the strategic mission implications of climate change, which officials described as a “critical first step for incorporating climate change security implications” in mission strategy plans and capabilities.
An official stated, “It will look at the effects of Climate Change on areas like, how to train fight and win, in an increasingly complicated environment”, adding that the Department of Finance would also “strive for prevention, mitigation, account for, and respond to defensive security risk associated with climate.
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Official said that the Pentagon analysis will include considerations of how climate change may impact “demand for defense missions” and critical supply chain and infrastructure.
Just weeks before President Biden, and other Cabinet members, are scheduled to attend the United Nations climate summit, which will be held in Glasgow, Scotland on Nov. 1, and 2.
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