Awareness - October 19, 2023 - We Welcome

Awareness - October 19, 2023

Some GOP members of Congress and presidential candidates call for ban on Palestinian refugees

Two Republican Representatives, Tom Tiffany (R-WI) and Andy Ogles (R-TN), plan to introduce legislation that will prevent the Biden administration from issuing visas to anyone with a Palestinian passport. The bill, titled Guaranteeing Aggressors Zero Admission (GAZA) Act, would also keep the Department of Homeland Security from allowing Palestinians to enter the U.S. through its humanitarian parole program. Experts predict that one million refugees could flee the Gaza Strip due to the war between Israel and Hamas.

In addition to these lawmakers, some GOP presidential hopefuls are also speaking out against allowing Palestinian refugees into the U.S. Republican candidate Governor Ron DeSantis and former President Donald Trump have both stated that no Palestinians should be allowed to enter the country and Trump said that he would suspend refugee resettlement and include a ban on refugees from Gaza.

Historically the U.S. has not admitted a large number of Palestinians under the Refugee Admissions Program. In fiscal year 2023 only 56 Palestinians were resettled. This is largely due to the fact that Palestinians fall under the mandate of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), which provides basic necessities but does not offer them resettlement options in other countries. The process for vetting individuals for refugee status is extensive and involves many layers of security screening, interviews and medical exams.

Biden administration plans to open new immigration pathway for immigrants from Ecuador

The U.S. will set up a family reunification program that will allow eligible Ecuadorians to fly to the country and apply for work authorization if they have relatives legally in the U.S. who will sponsor them. The administration hopes that this program will keep potential migrants from Ecuador from making their way by land to the U.S.-Mexico border.

"Establishing this process for certain Ecuadorian nationals will ensure more families can access lawful pathways rather than placing themselves at the mercy of smugglers to make the dangerous journey," stated Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.