Ocasio-Cortez Says Climate Change Is ‘Fueling’ The Immigration Crisis

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Democratic New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said climate change was a “major factor” behind the wave of migrants making their way to the U.S. southern border.

“The far-right loves to drum up fear [and] resistance to immigrants,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted Tuesday. “But have you ever noticed they never talk about what‘s causing people to flee their homes in the first place?”

“Perhaps that’s [because] they’d be forced to confront 1 major factor fueling global migration: Climate change,” Ocasio-Cortez tweeted.

Ocasio-Cortez’s tweet links to a video by The Leap, a group founded by author and activist Naomi Klein. The Leap’s video discusses “why the climate movement must fight for migrant justice to win the world we want.”

It’s part of a growing effort to link global warming to a host of seemingly unrelated issues, like immigration, national security and health care. Former Vice President Al Gore repeatedly tried to link man-made warming to the current wave of migration from Central America to the U.S.

Gore told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in January the so-called “dry corridor,” which includes El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, “is the most vulnerable region in the world to global warming.”

“And they’ve gone without a harvest this year. Some have gone without a harvest for two years,” Gore said. “That is one of the principal causes for them making that long journey.”

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez departs after House Oversight and Reform Committee voted to subpeona White House about security clearances on Capitol Hill in Washington

U.S. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Rep. Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) smile after the House Oversight and Reform Committee voted to subpoena the White House about security clearances while meeting on Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., April 2, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria.

A number of news outlets have made similar claims, linking global warming to migrant caravans that dominated headlines during fall 2018. At the time, thousands of Central American migrants made their way to the U.S. southern border to claim asylum and gain entry.

Droughts hit Central America in recent years, driven by the incredibly strong El Nino in 2015. El Nino is a regularly occurring natural phenomenon, not the product of human emissions.

What does the science say about droughts and global warming? Climate models generally project some regions will see more frequent droughts by the end of the century, but tying today’s droughts to human emissions is problematic.

The United Nation’s most recent climate report found “slow confidence in the sign of drought trends since 1950 at the global scale,” but high confidence in trends in some regions, which included decreases in drought frequency in central North America.

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