Study: Climate Could Drive Immigration

LOS ANGELES, July 26 (UPI) — Scientists are predicting climate change could prompt mass migrations into the United States.

A study published this week in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences says between 1.4 million and 6.7 million Mexicans could migrate to the United States by 2080 as climate change reduces crop yields and agricultural production in Mexico, the Los Angeles Times reported Monday.

The figure could represent 10 percent of the current population of Mexican ages 15 to 65, the newspaper said.

“Assuming that the climate projections are correct,” study author Michael Oppenheimer, professor of geosciences and international affairs at Princeton University, said, “gradually over the next several decades heading toward the end of the century, it becomes one of the more important factors in driving Mexicans across the border, all other things being equal.”

Oppenheimer acknowledges all things are not likely to remain equal, with possible changes in U.S. immigration policy or in Mexico’s economy and its reliance on agriculture.

But the study was a first step in examining global warming’s effect on migration, he said.

“Our primary objectives were, No. 1, to give policymakers something to think about and, No. 2, to give researchers a spur to start answering some of the more complicated questions,” Oppenheimer said.

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