Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke, during a recent visit to an immigrant detention facility in Homestead, Florida, said that migrants are forced to seek asylum because of climate change caused by U.S. excesses.
O'Rourke's assessment of climate change as the cause of the crisis at the U.S. southern border comes as other candidates, during recent debates, listed climate change as the biggest existential threat to the country.
"We've got to remember that they are fleeing the deadliest countries on the face of the planet today," O'Rourke said. "Compounded by drought that was caused, not by God, not by mother nature, but by us. Man-made climate change, our emissions, our excesses, our inaction in the face of the facts and the science. When it's that deadly, and you're unable to grow your own food to feed yourself, you have no choice but to come here."
During the Democratic primary debates, candidates made their case for the seriousness of climate change.
Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) "Look, the old ways are no longer relevant. The scientists tell us we have 12 years because there's irreparable damage to this planet. This is a global issue."
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) "I don't even call it climate change. It's a climate crisis. It represents an existential threat to us as a species, and the fact that we have a President of the United States who has embraced science fiction over science fact will be to our collective peril."
Of the ten candidates on stage during the second night of debate, four of them listed climate change as "the greatest geopolitical threat to the U.S. right now."
Numerous media outlets lamented the lack of focus on climate change during the debates, criticizing both the questions from the moderators and the way the candidates handled them.