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Durbin urges Biden to grant temporary legal status to Palestinians in US

Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) is spearheading an effort urging President Biden to grant temporary legal status to Palestinians living in the United States due to the ongoing violence in the Israel-Hamas war.

In a letter to Biden, Durbin asked the president to designate the Palestinian territories for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and to authorize Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Palestinians living in the U.S., arguing that they should not be forced to return to Gaza in light of the escalating fighting.

The Illinois Democrat said that enacting TPS and DED for Palestinians in the U.S. would “offer temporary relief from removal and work authorization for eligible foreign nationals who are unable to return safely to their home countries or part of a country.”

“TPS or DED would enable Palestinians currently present in the U.S., including students, tourists, and workers, to be protected from a dangerous return to their homeland while affording them the ability to remain safely in the U.S. and to work legally to support themselves and their families,” Durbin wrote.

“As such, we urge your Administration to designate the Palestinian territories for TPS and/or to authorize DED for Palestinians in the United States without delay,” he concluded in his letter.

The Gaza Strip has been bombarded with Israeli airstrikes in recent weeks after the militant group Hamas launched an unprecedented, deadly attack on Israel on Oct. 7 that killed more than 1,400 Israelis. The airstrikes — coupled with a dwindling supply of food, water and medical supplies — have prompted many officials, humanitarian groups and other world leaders to warn of a humanitarian crisis in Gaza.

According to the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry, more than 10,000 Palestinians, including thousands of children, have died in the fighting since the war broke out more than a month ago. 

Durbin, along with other lawmakers, has called for a cease-fire in the fighting if the hostages are released. More than 200 people were taken hostage by Hamas militants in the initial attacks, and the majority of them remain in custody.

“At least in the context of both sides agreeing. For example, the release of those kidnapped should be part of this — immediate release. That should be the beginning of it,” Durbin said on CNN last week. “An effort should be made to engage in conversation between the Israelis and Palestinians.”

Source: The Hill

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