Rep. Jamie Raskin: Border Crisis Fueled in Part by ‘Climate Change Refugees’

US Democratic Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland speaks during a markup of a resoluti

Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-MD) said on Wednesday at a House hearing focused on the mistreatment of children who are being sheltered at facilities at the U.S.-Mexico border that some migrants entering the U.S. are “climate change refugees.”

“What is driving this refugee crisis?” Raskin, chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Civil Liberties, said in his opening remarks. “Gang violence and intimidation, government dysfunction and police corruption, political persecution, rape, and unchecked gender violence—they are all driving unprecedented numbers of desperate families and terrified children out of the Northern Triangle of Central America to the United States.”

“Many of these migrants amassing at our border are escaping threats of imminent death or bodily harm or the prospect of their children being forced into violent gangs or criminal networks of sexual abuse and human trafficking,” Raskin said.

“Some are climate change refugees, fleeing the devastating effects of extreme drought and flooding,” Raskin said.

Despite the fact that President Donald Trump declared a national emergency at the border, the courts blocked his efforts to address the crisis and it took months for Congress to pass a bill to fund humanitarian aid at border facilities.

Many House Democrats, including Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (NY), Rashida Tlaib (MI), Ilhan Omar (MN), and Ayanna Pressley (MA), voted against a $4.6 billion border humanitarian funding bill. 

Both Ocasio-Cortez and Pressley, members of the subcommittee, slammed the Trump administration and federal law enforcement agencies at the border for “human rights abuses.”

The first panel at the hearing, entitled “Kids in Cages: Inhumane Treatment at the Border,” featured Yazmin Juarez, whose 19-month-old daughter, Mariee, died from a respiratory infection at a hospital weeks after being released from a border facility.

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