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- Martin Susan F.


Policymakers in potential destination countries for international migrants have been slow to identify possible responses to manage environmentally induced migration that take these complex interconnections into account. Humanitarian admissions are generally limited to refugees and asylum seekers. Most environmental migrants, forced to flee because of loss of livelihood or habitat and not because of persecutory policies, will be unlikely to meet the legal definition of a refugee. In the absence of legal opportunities to immigrate, at least some portion of those who lose livelihoods as a result of climate change and other environmental hazards will likely become irregular migrants. The challenge in these cases is determining whether these individuals should be given consideration over others who migrate in search of better opportunities. Temporary protection policies that permit individuals whose countries have experienced natural disasters or other severe upheavals to remain at least temporarily without fear of deportation may help a limited number of those forced to flee their homes because of climate change, but these will not address the need for permanent resettlement, particularly for the citizens of island nations that may be affected by rising sea levels. Given concerns in many potential countries of destination about the social, cultural, economic and other impacts of large-scale migration, the policy development process will need to balance domestic interests with the clearly humanitarian implications of climate change induced displacement.





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