The Green New Deal is a bold resolution that asks us to envision climate policy beyond emissions reductions and pollution controls. The proposal seeks to reduce environmental impacts, including by dramatically reducing carbon emissions, while supporting domestic manufacturing, unionized labor, sustainable agriculture, and social equity. The Biden Administration has expressed support for the Green New Deal as “a crucial framework for meeting the climate challenges we face,” and the proposal has influenced the Administration’s early actions to reduce carbon emissions. How can the Green New Deal’s framework guide climate policy beyond emissions reductions, and who should be a part of this conversation?
Using examples from immigration law and policy, this Article envisions what climate policy beyond emissions looks like in two key areas: climate migration and immigration detention. Rightfully so, the Green New Deal makes several gestures toward the impact its proposals would have on immigration policy and migrant communities. The Green New Deal identifies that climate change will cause—indeed, already has caused—mass migration, labels climate change as a national security threat, and recognizes that climate change will disproportionately impact migrant communities. And it expressly sets out to stop and prevent further oppression of migrant communities. As a framework, the Green New Deal demands attention to the intersection of climate and immigration policy and meaningful commitment to reforms in the areas of immigration law that the Green New Deal impacts.
We argue that failure to consider the role of immigration reform in climate policy risks undermining the Green New Deal’s goal of aligning environmental and economic policy with racial, social, and economic equality, as well as its specific goals focused on migrant communities. To address the impact of climate change on mass migration and vulnerable communities, immigration reform should be understood as a key element of climate policy guided by the Green New Deal. We start that conversation by offering proposals that integrate key immigration reforms into a climate policy that looks beyond borders and beyond prisons.
Wyatt Sassman & Danielle C. Jefferis,
Beyond Emissions: Migration, Prisons, and the Green New Deal,
Available at: https://scholarlycommons.law.cwsl.edu/fs/366