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Loeb Co-Sponsors Legal Series on Climate Change and Forced Displacement

In June 2023, Loeb & Loeb co-sponsored a two-part series focused on immigration and how climate change impacts refugees around the world. The two legal trainings, led by the firm’s pro bono partner, HIAS, align with the firm’s ongoing 2023 Diversity & Pro Bono Impact Seminar Series. Founded in 1881, HIAS is an international Jewish humanitarian organization providing critical support to refugees, asylum seekers and other forcibly displaced people around the world. 

The firm has co-sponsored HIAS seminars with Morgan Stanley for several years, often pairing the programs with immigration clinics. These two June programs were held in preparation for our upcoming Adjustment of Status pro bono clinic for refugees from Ukraine, Afghanistan, Myanmar and parts Central America, alongside lawyers from Morgan Stanley in September 2023.

The first training, “Introduction to Adjustment of Status Applications,” discussed when and how refugees, asylees and other recipients of humanitarian relief in the U.S. apply to become Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs), also known as green card holders, in the U.S. through a process called "adjustment of status.” This process is an important step in a person’s immigration journey because LPRs are granted significant benefits, including the ability to work, the freedom to travel abroad and the ability to petition for certain family members to join them in the U.S. This process also represents a significant step towards becoming a U.S. citizen. For many, having a green card is a true measurement of permanency and stability in the U.S. HIAS pro bono lawyers play an important role in this work by assisting refugees, asylees and others who are eligible and ready to become LPRs.

The second program, “Climate Change and Forced Displacement,” coincided with World Refugee Day on June 20 and examined several of the serious concerns around climate change and forced displacement. Our traditional understanding of refugees does not fully encompass the number of people around the world who are forcibly displaced, including those who have lost or fled their homes due to worsening natural disasters spurred by climate change. Without action, these disasters will continue to occur and more people around the world will become “climate change refugees.” This session included some of the climate impacts the world is already seeing, how the U.S. has been preparing, how the current deficiencies in U.S. and international refugee law will impact this work and whether there are any current immigration pathways available to climate refugees.