A group of Democrats in Congress on Wednesday urged President Biden to allow Palestinians currently in the U.S. to remain amid the Israel-Hamas war in Gaza.
In a letter to the President, more than 100 Congressional Democrats, let by Sen. Dick Durbin (D-IL), beseeched Biden to grant residents of Israeli-occupied Palestinians relief from deportation and access to work permits through U.S. programs that protect people whose homelands are impacted by conflict, natural disasters or other crises.
The letter cites the humanitarian organization Save the Children, which has said that more than 4,100 children have been killed in the war since Hamas’ October 7 terror attack on Israel—”more than the number of children killed in all of the world’s armed conflicts on an annual basis since 2019.”
It additionally cites the United Nations’ reports that 1.5 million of Gaza’s 2.2 million population have been displaced, and that 725,000 are sheltering in U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) installations.
“Given these conditions, it is no surprise that the U.S. Department of State extended a Level 4 Travel Advisory for Gaza due to ‘terrorism, civil unrest and armed conflict’ and a Level 3 Travel Advisory for the West Bank earlier this month for terrorism and civil unrest,” the Democrats’ letter to Biden goes on.
It concludes, “As such, we urge your Administration to designate the Palestinian territories for TPS [Temporary Protected Status] and/or to authorize DED [Deferred Enforced Departure] for Palestinians in the United States without delay.”
The Democrats’ request to Biden comes as some Republicans, including former President Trump, have backed immigration restrictions against people coming from Gaza.
Last week, Rep. Ryan Zinke (R-MT) led a group of ten Republicans in introducing a bill to expel Palestinians on U.S. security grounds, and to bar the entry of others holding Palestinian Authority-issued passports.
“I don’t trust the Biden Administration any more than I do the Palestinian Authority to screen who is allowed to come into the United States,” Zinke said In a statement.