Friday, September 18, 2020
Immigration Article of the Day: Legal Protections for Environmental Migrants: Expanding Possibilities and Redefining Success by Jayesh Rathod
Legal Protections for Environmental Migrants: Expanding Possibilities and Redefining Success by Jayesh Rathod, CLALS Working Paper Series #29 (September 2020)
Abstract This working paper describes international and domestic efforts to enact legal protections for environmental migrants, with attention to Latin America, and examines why efforts to craft a comprehensive international instrument to address this phenomenon have yet to succeed. It details factors contributing to this impasse, including: the lack of an existing framework; the inherent complexity and variability of environmental migration; the trend towards restrictive migration policies; and the lack of a clear institutional leader at the international level. Citing the limits of an exclusive focus on the creation of a new international instrument, the paper also points to the need to recalibrate normative success as it relates to environmental migration. It advocates, instead, for a broader range of responses underwritten by a series of analytical shifts, including: the embrace of principles of responsiveness, flexibility, creativity, and ongoing information-gathering; simultaneous interventions at the local, national, regional, and international levels; and informed participation by affected migrants that reflects their goals and agentic capacity and transcends a pattern of reductionist victimhood.