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The human struggle at the US-Mexico border will only grow due to climate change

Early morning on the Rio Grande in Juarez, Mexico, Nov. 11, a man ran up an embankment of the Rio Grande. The tents below him belong to migrant Venezuelans encamped indefinitely below. They number about 900. City officials are concerned as the impromptu camp lies in a flood zone.ED QUINN

Ed Quinn has written a poignant and thoughtful column about the current southern border (“The endless human struggle at the US-Mexico border,” Ideas, Dec. 18). But midway, he casually mentions that over the next three decades, “climate change and drought [at that border] … may push more than 134 million migrants to our shores, according to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.” While climate and drought will undoubtedly drive Southern Hemisphere migrants northward, it is far from clear whether they can be let in to “our shores.” The United States has already had significant experience with “climate change and drought.” California’s Imperial Valley has suffered so much drought that it is unlikely to continue as a key source of fruit and vegetables for this country, and severe drought is reducing the Colorado River flow so much that the southwest border states will suffer severe water shortages and likely soon see internal migration north. What to do with the predicted 134 million more? Well, history and anthropological evidence teach that people, suffering from drought and other food shortages, have always tried to move into the land of other people, which caused millennia of constant battles. And then there is the problem of the amount of carbon Americans already produce and the amount of the planet’s resources we already use.

John H. Henn