Wednesday, September 15, 2021
Extreme heat in the United States in the summer of 2021 underscores the urgency of adopting a climate-informed approach to policies affecting border communities, migrants, and asylum seekers, a group of 68 rights organizations said in a letter to the Biden administration. The groups include Human Rights Watch, the Natural Resources Defense Council, the Southern Border Communities Coalition, the American Friends Service Committee, Amnesty International USA, and dozens of others.
“Considering the likelihood of increasingly extreme temperatures at the border, the Biden administration should move away from deterrence and ‘Do Not Come’ messaging, which ignores the realities for people fleeing for their lives and their right to seek safety,” said Clara Long, associate US director at Human Rights Watch. “Instead, the US strategy to address migration on a warming planet should be rooted in human rights and humanitarian protection.”
In late August, US Customs and Border Protection agents found a two-year-old boy alive next to the bodies of his mother and 10-year old sister in the desert west of Yuma, Arizona. The high temperature on that day was 119 degrees. The Yuma County medical examiner determined that their deaths were heat-related.
“Extreme heat is already a deadly threat to migrants and border communities," said Juanita Constible, senior advocate for climate and health at the Natural Resources Defense Council.