Inslee: Many of the Migrants Crossing the Border Are 'Climate Refugees'

April 14, 2019

Washington Governor and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Jay Inslee said Sunday that many of the migrants crossing the southern border are "climate refugees."

"A lot of these people are climate refugees. Not all, but a lot of them. The fact that Donald Trump has waved the white surrender to climate change is wrong," the governor said.

Inslee has made combating climate change the central issue of his presidential campaign and has tied it to other issues like eliminating the filibuster in the Senate.

Meet the Press anchor Chuck Todd asked Inslee about President Donald Trump's proposal to have the government send migrants and asylum seekers to sanctuary cities.

"I know the Seattle mayor wrote an op-ed for the Washington Post that basically condemned the president's weaponization. He said, fine, send them, take them. Is that your attitude? Regardless of the president's tone, should this be part of the temporary solution?" Todd asked.

"This is yet another bombastic chaos that is simply not going to work for this ineffective president for several reasons. Number one, you can't threaten somebody with something they are not afraid of. We are not afraid of diversity in the state of Washington," Inslee said. "It is the basis of our economic and cultural success. We are built as a state of immigrants.

"We have welcomed refugees as we did the Vietnamese refugees with the Republican governor back in the day, and we continue to welcome—that's why I was the first governor to say our state was the first to take Syrian refugees," he added. "We are happy to take refugees and proud of [Seattle Mayor Jenny] Durkan for what she has said. It's simply based on a matter of these are humans."

"Look, if you are elected president, there might be a Republican Senate, Democratic House. a quick legislative fix is not there. Tell me what you do right now," Todd said.

"Number one, I would attack climate change," Inslee said, as he continued on to describe most of the migrants as "climate refugees."


There has been a surge of migrants crossing the southern border, many being family units. Most crossing the border claim asylum and say they are fleeing poverty and gang violence in their home countries.