White House Considering Allowing Gaza Refugees Into USA Says Report

The Biden administration is reportedly considering a plan to bring certain Palestinians to the U.S. as refugees. According to internal federal government documents obtained by CBS News, top U.S. officials have engaged in discussions about the practicality of resettling Palestinians from Gaza who have immediate family members who are American citizens or permanent residents.

One of the proposals under consideration involves utilizing the United States Refugee Admissions Program, which has been in place for decades, to welcome Palestinians with ties to the U.S. who have managed to flee Gaza and enter neighboring Egypt. The documents also indicate that officials are discussing the possibility of airlifting additional Palestinians out of Gaza and processing them as refugees, provided they have American relatives.

If the plans were to move forward, eligible Palestinians would undergo a series of eligibility, medical, and security screenings, and if they pass, they would be able to fly to the U.S. with refugee status. This status would grant them permanent residency, resettlement benefits such as housing assistance, and a path to American citizenship.

Reports indicate that the eligible population would likely be relatively small. However, this potential plan could offer a lifeline to some Palestinians fleeing the Israel-Hamas war, which has resulted in the deaths of an estimated 34,000 people and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of civilians in Gaza, according to local public health authorities.

In response to inquiries about these plans, a White House spokesperson stated that the U.S. has already assisted over 1,800 American citizens and their families in leaving Gaza, with some coming to the U.S. Additionally, the statement asserted that the U.S. does not support forced relocation of Palestinians from Gaza or the West Bank, nor does it condone any actions that would redraw the borders of Gaza.

If the Biden administration moves forward with these plans, it would signify a shift in longstanding U.S. government policy and practice. Since its inception in 1980, the U.S. refugee program has not resettled Palestinians in significant numbers. In the past decade, only a total of 600 Palestinians were resettled, accounting for less than 0.09% of the 60,000 refugees welcomed by the U.S.

While Democrats may show support for this potential plan, it could also present political challenges for the Biden administration, particularly regarding the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. The war has already highlighted divisions within the Democratic Party, sparked widespread protests on college campuses, and divided communities across America.

If Palestinians are admitted as refugees, it could potentially draw criticism from Republicans, who have previously expressed concerns about immigration and border security. Shortly after the start of Israel's offensive in Gaza, Republican presidential candidates stated that the U.S. should not welcome Palestinian refugees, citing concerns about antisemitism and national security risks.

The Biden administration has prioritized increasing refugee resettlement, which was significantly reduced under the previous administration. The goal is to admit up to 125,000 refugees in fiscal year 2024. However, this potential plan to welcome Palestinians as refugees could face pushback from some Republicans, who accuse the Biden administration of being too lenient on immigration policies.

The discussions surrounding the resettlement of Palestinians as refugees are ongoing, and it is unclear if or when a decision will be made. It is also uncertain how this potential plan would impact U.S. relations with Israel and Egypt, as well as how it may affect the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. As the Biden administration continues to weigh its options, the potential resettlement of Palestinians as refugees remains a contentious and complicated issue.

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