Senator Brian Schatz’s (D-HI) filed an amendment for the immigration bill Wednesday that would allow stateless people in the U.S. to seek conditional lawful status if their nations have been made uninhabitable by climate change.
The Senate’s immigration bill currently recognizes that people who come to the U.S. may have no country to return to for a variety of reasons and allows them to come forward to apply for legal status as a stateless person. But one cause for displacement that is overlooked in current law is how climate change has caused people to lose their homes and their nationality.
Noting that climate change is not some “abstract challenge,” but is already displacing people across the world, Schatz explained:
The amendment I am proposing is quite simple. If enacted, the Secretary of Homeland Security, in consultation with the Secretary of State, may designate individuals or a group of individuals displaced permanently by climate change as stateless persons.