Is there a special class of refugee in the United States for climate refugees? If the United States had to take in climate refugees under what legal class of refugee would they be brought under? Political refugee or something else? I am wondering if there's anything the law says in that regard or legislation is required to make it clear.

1 Answer 1


The US does not "have to" take in any refugees. There is a provision under US law pertaining to asylum. First, the person has to be in the US, including "having arrived at". The principle underlying a grant of asylum is that a special exception is made if not allowing the person into the US and repatriating them to their country of citizenship would make then "unsafe" in specific ways. If that can instead be repatriated to a safe third country (e.g. were granted asylum in Norway then decided to move to the US), then they are not eligible for asylum in the US unless the Attorney General determines that it is in the interest of the US. There are various provisions whereby a person from Eritrea (for example) would not be admissible, such as having participated in the repression or being a criminal.

This article gives a detailed analysis of the criteria for asylum, which reduce to unwillingness to return to one's home country

because of persecution or a well-founded fear of persecution on account of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, or political opinion

You would have to decide what a "climate refugee" is to see how the law applies. For example, if you mean "a climate-change denier who is subject to persecution for expressing their skepticism", that would be covered by the protected category of political opinion. The actual climate in a country is not grounds for granting asylum.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .