American Bar Association | Climate Change and the Impact on U.S. Immigration and Asylum Law

May 26, 2021

Migration has been part of human history since the beginning of time. However, environmental stressors have increasingly become push factors, forcing individuals to leave their homes and seek refuge in other countries. Drought, flooding, temperature change, inconsistent rainfall rates, and unreliable crop yields have been consistent and pervasive manifestations of climate change. The current U.S. immigration policy response has been to attempt to contain or stop the flow of individuals. What would the immigration landscape look like if there was a focus to address climate change factors or define a path of entry for those displaced by climate change? This panel provided background and context for climate migration and also explored solutions and recommendations that could help to address the immigration ramifications of this issue.


  • Bill Frelick: Human Rights Watch, Director of the Refugee and Migrant Rights Division
  • Helena Olea: Alianza Americas, Associate Director for Programs
  • Kayly Ober: Refugees International, Senior Advocate and Program Manager of the Climate Displacement Program

Joint Sponsor

 ABA Section of Civil Rights and Social Justice