The Gulf Coast Center for Law & Policy stands in solidarity with Women Watch Afrika and the over 64 million people who have been forcibly displaced, including refugees, asylum-seekers, internally displaced persons and climate refugees. We join allies across the globe on World Refugee Day (June 20) to acknowledge the humanity dignity and value of all refugees and to celebrate their courage, resilience, and contributions in the fleeing of their homeland and the assimilation of some place new, where they are too often met with hostility and are penalized through labor exploitation and criminalization.
We must care about how people who are crossing borders today are treated as the reality of the climate crisis forces more and more people to cross domestic and international borders for safety. During Hurricane Katrina (2005), over a million people across the Gulf Coast region were temporarily displaced. Hundreds of thousands of families never returned to their homes, the majority of them Black, Brown, and poor. Displaced people and families were called refugees despite not crossing international borders. This label was meant to identify them as the other, the victim, people who are not supposed to be there in order to justify barriers for economic recovery, inclusive social integration, and the healing required for climate disasters and climate trauma. The United Nation predicts that by 2050, there could be as many as 1 billion people displaced due to the climate crisis.
We stand in solidarity with refugees in the US. We must establish a new social attitude and see migration as a benefit and as a necessity for our global survival, not as a threat to our individual privileges. We must get ready for the realities of migration caused by the worsening climate crisis. Our collective resilience is connected to our ability to protect and advocate for the human right to migrate. Key to our survival will be our ability to care for refugees. We must perfect our process of integrating migrating families as we build a democracy for all people. All people, especially refugees deserve safe housing, healthy food, clean water, healthcare and the freedom from over policing and exploitation of their labor no matter who they are and where they are from. We stand with the refugee community in love and solidarity.