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ICYMI: TPS Designations Could Help Stabilize Latin American Countries Impacted by Climate Change Driven Displacement

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New report highlights an accelerating climate crisis fuelling emergencies in world’s poorest countries

Reporting in The Guardian highlights a new joint report from Care International and Meltwater that found the countries most impacted by climate change have done the least to cause its impact, and receive little to no press or international attention. The Guardian story, “World’s poorest bear brunt of climate crisis: 10 underreported emergencies,” details how extreme weather exacerbated by climate change, combined with COVID “wipes out decades of progress,” in developing nations.

As poverty, hunger, and natural disasters continue to disproportionately impact vulnerable countries, particularly in Central America and Africa, President Biden must use Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designations as an effective humanitarian solution that can stabilize these regions. A stalled Congress has prompted greater urgency for the Biden Administration to act, using statutory authority granted to the executive to designate TPS and protect people already living, working, and paying taxes in the U.S. from being deported to unsafe conditions. Earlier this week, 33 Democratic Senators signed on to a letter urging President Biden to grant designations in Central America, including Guatemala and Honduras that were highlighted in the Care International and Meltwater report and are still reeling from the impact of devastating 2020 hurricanes Eta and Iota. 

The article is excerpted below and can be read in full here.

The accelerating climate crisis is fuelling many of the world’s emergencies, said Laurie Lee, CEO of Care International UK.

‘There is deep injustice at the heart of it. The world’s poorest are bearing the brunt of climate change – poverty, migration, hunger, gender inequality and ever more scarce resources – despite having done the least to cause it,’ he said. ‘Add Covid-19 into the mix and we see decades of progress towards tackling inequality, poverty, conflict and hunger disappearing before our eyes.’

The number of people in need of humanitarian aid is expected to rise to 274 million this year, or one in 28 people, and more than 84 million people have been uprooted.

…Poverty, violence and the climate crisis are leading problems in Guatemala, which is on the migratory route to Mexico and the US. Two-thirds of the population live on less than $2 a day and 38% of the population face food insecurity.Camps sheltering those sent back by Mexico are overcrowded, meaning many live on the streets, the report said. Guatemala is considered one of the world’s most dangerous countries, with 3,500 murders in 2020 alone.

…Poverty and violence have exacerbated the humanitarian situation in Honduras, prompting many to leave for the US. About 70% of the population live in poverty, according to a 2020 study. There have been problems with farming due to drought, hurricanes and floods. The country has 937,000 displaced people, the highest number in Latin America.