Blocking deportations, Biden announces ‘safe haven’ for Palestinians in US

Order prevents deportation of Palestinians from the U.S. to the Gaza Strip, will last for 18 months.

By World Israel news Staff

President Joe Biden signed a memo on Wednesday which blocks the deportation of Palestinians from the U.S., due to “significantly deteriorated” humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip during the ongoing Swords of Iron War.

While the number of people affected by the policy is unclear, the order will remain in place for the next 18 months, preventing U.S. authorities from expelling non-citizen Palestinians from the country.

“While I remain focused on improving the humanitarian situation [in Gaza], many civilians remain in danger; therefore, I am directing the deferral of removal of certain Palestinians who are present in the United States,” read the memo.

Notably, the text avoided referring to the reasons that potential deportees would be expelled from the country, including pending criminal charges or illegally entering the U.S.

U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan was vague when discussing the decision’s reach, saying that “this grant of deferred enforced departure would provide protections for most Palestinians in the United States, with certain exceptions.”

Sullivan did not elaborate on exceptions to the policy, beyond saying that people deemed “public safety threats” would not be eligible to remain in the “temporary safe haven” established by the memo.

The move was praised by Arab and Muslim activists in the U.S.

“There is a desperate need for this,” Abed Ayoub, the executive director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, told the New York Times.

“We see the situation in Gaza and Palestine is not getting better, and this is something that is welcome, and we are glad to see it implemented. We hope other measures can come into place.”

Some 100 Democratic lawmakers had called on Biden to implement the move in order to protect Palestinians from being deported to an active war zone in Gaza.

“Today’s decision by the Administration protects Palestinians in the United States from being forced to return to these clearly dangerous and deadly conditions,” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., said in a statement.