White House weighs accepting Gaza Palestinians as refugees amid Israel-Hamas conflict

By Majesty 5 Min Read

Amid the current Middle East conflict between Israel and Hamas, the Biden administration is contemplating accepting certain Palestinians as refugees into the United States. These individuals are trying to flee war-torn Gaza.

Based on internal federal government documents, CBS News has learned that senior officials from multiple federal U.S. agencies have been debating the specifics of possible options to accept Palestinians from Gaza who have immediate family members who are citizens or permanent residents of the United States in recent weeks.

The records disclose that one proposal calls for the admission of Palestinians with U.S. links who have fled Gaza and entered neighbouring Egypt through the U.S. Refugee Admissions Programme.

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According to the documents, U.S. officials have also thought about accepting more Palestinians who have left Gaza and are processing them as refugees if they have American relations. Coordination with Egypt would be necessary for this plan to be implemented, as it has thus far shown little interest in accepting a sizable influx of Gaza residents.

A person from Gaza could be granted refugee status in the United States, which entails permanent residency, resettlement benefits like housing assistance, and a route to citizenship in the country, if they successfully complete a series of eligibility, medical, and security checks.

While it is anticipated that very few persons will be qualified, some Palestinians hoping to flee the Israel-Hamas conflict may find that the planned plans provide them a lifeline.

This comes amid estimates of over 34,000 dead, over 77,000 injured, and hundreds of thousands of displaced residents in Gaza, according to the Health Ministry of the Hamas-run government.

On October 7, terrorists from Hamas carried out an unexpected attack on Israel that resulted in the deaths of over 1,200 people and Israeli military reprisal. Additionally, around 200 people were abducted by Hamas, many of whom are still being held captive.

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A White House spokeswoman told Fox News, “Since the beginning of the conflict, the United States has helped more than 1,800 American citizens and their families leave Gaza, many of whom have come to the United States.” “At President Biden’s direction, we have also helped, and will continue to help, some particularly vulnerable individuals, such as children with serious health problems and children who were receiving treatment for cancer, get out of harm’s way and receive care at nearby hospitals in the region.

In order to reduce the terrible circumstances in Gaza, the United States continues to be the major donor of humanitarian aid. “We are working hard to get more desperately needed aid into the hands of more people as soon as possible,” the spokesperson said. Additionally, we have consistently and unequivocally stated that the United States opposes any steps that would result in the forcible eviction of Palestinians from Gaza or the West Bank or in the redrawing of Gaza’s borders. The best course of action is to reach a long-lasting cease-fire through a hostage negotiation, which will calm the situation and open the door to a two-state resolution.”

White House weighs accepting Gaza Palestinians as refugees amid Israel-Hamas conflict

Additionally, the suggestions follow President Biden’s February letter on deferred enforced departure for those Palestinians who were already in the U.S

The proposal to relocate some Palestinians to the United States would be a departure from long-standing American government policy and practice, as the programme has not resettled a significant number of Palestinians since its establishment in 1980.

Less than 600 of the more than 400,000 refugees the United States has resettled in the last ten years are Palestinians fleeing violence and conflict abroad. Out of the almost 60,000 refugees resettled in the United States in fiscal year 2023, the State Department reports that 56 Palestinian refugees were accepted.

In order to be granted entry into the United States as a refugee, applicants must demonstrate that they are escaping persecution due to specific characteristics, such as their nationality, religion, or political beliefs.

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