Latin American and Caribbean immigrants reflect on the impact of the IRA on its one year anniversary

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
August 16, 2023
CONTACT: 
Mynellies Negrón | +1 703 585 6727 | [email protected] 

 

Chicago, IL – Today marks one year since the Biden Administration passed the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), a law that includes historic levels of federal investment to address climate change and its devastating effects on communities across the country. Alianza Americas, a multi-ethnic and multi-racial network of 57 grassroots organizations in 18 states and Washington D.C. fighting for just and equitable health, environmental and immigration policies, acknowledges that while the IRA is a step in the right direction, it falls short of providing the massive and transformative infrastructure changes needed to address the current climate crisis that is disproportionately impacting low-income communities of color. 

 

“Migrant families are often displaced from their countries of origin as a result of both climate disasters and the gradual impacts of climate change. While tools exist to adapt to a changing climate, inequities in access result in situations that exacerbate poverty and put the health of people at risk. Families migrate in search of better living conditions, only to be met with similar challenges as they resettle in polluted cities and sacrifice zones in the United States,” says Carolina Ortiz, Associate Executive Director of COPAL (Comunidades Organizando el Poder y la Acción Latina).

 

The IRA’s focus on providing tax subsidies for homeowners who choose to electrify their homes, largely prevents renters, who are often overburdened with high utility bills, from reaping the benefits of electrification. Low-income tenants, many of whom are migrant communities, disproportionately experience the negative effects of the climate crisis as a result of living in climate-vulnerable zones, often referred to as “sacrifice zones,” where climate resilience and adaptation have not been thoroughly addressed through policy. Climate solutions in the U.S. must do more to address these systemic inequities by accepting the climate crisis as the public health, housing, and existential crisis that it is. 

 

“In order to combat the severity of the climate crisis we are currently experiencing, drastic measures that transform our country’s relationship to consumption are desperately needed, as well as efficient, reliable public transit systems and publicly-owned, hyper-local energy systems that transition us away from our reliance on fossil fuels,” says Melanie Minuche, Climate Justice Organizer at Alianza Americas.

 

The Biden administration, as well as future administrations, should create and enforce climate policy that builds the infrastructure for public transportation that runs on electricity, grant funds for publicly-owned and community-driven renewable energy projects, and stops leasing public lands to the fossil fuel industry for continued extraction. Until executive powers in the United States take these drastic measures, low-income communities, many of whom are migrant families, will continue experiencing the devastation and harmful aftermath of climate disasters and climate injustice.

 

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Alianza Americas is the premier transnational advocacy network of Latin American migrant-led organizations working in the United States, across the Americas, and globally to create an inclusive, equitable and sustainable way of life for communities across North, Central and South America.

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