Steyer unveils proposal to make climate change refugees eligible for legal US entry

Steyer unveils proposal to make climate change refugees eligible for legal US entry
© Greg Nash

Democratic presidential candidate Tom SteyerTom Fahr SteyerBiden breaks away from 2020 pack in South Carolina Buttigieg to attend MLK Day event in South Carolina after facing criticism Poll: Sanders holds 5-point lead over Buttigieg in New Hampshire MORE wants to make people fleeing the effects of climate change eligible for legal entry to the U.S.

His immigration plan, unveiled Friday, called for the creation of new "legal categories" to help people trying to escape "climate-related catastrophes" legally come into the country. 

Steyer has placed climate initiatives at the center of his platform. He has said he would declare climate change a national emergency his first day in office and has called the issue "the most important international problem we’re facing.”

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The sprawling plan also called for reinstating the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, creating a pathway to citizenship for undocumented individuals and reforming immigration agencies such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 

"I will make it my duty to not only undo the policies that are systematically attacking immigrant communities of color, but create a system that allows immigrants of every background a chance to build a life in our country,” Steyer said in a statement.

The billionaire on Thursday qualified for the January primary debate after a surprising surge in two Fox News polls. He is among more than a dozen candidates vying for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination.