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White House considers admitting some Palestinians from Gaza as refugees

The Biden administration is considering admitting certain Palestinians to the U.S. as refugees, a report by CBS News found.

Senior officials in several U.S. agencies have discussed the idea of resettling Palestinians from Gaza who have immediate family who are American citizens. One of the ideas proposed would be to use the United States Refugee Admissions Program to allow Palestinians who have U.S. ties and have escaped Gaza and are now in Egypt to enter the country as refugees, CBS News reported.

The Biden administration did not confirm nor deny that the proposal was in the works but said in a statement to The Hill that the White House has helped more than 1,800 American citizens and their families leave Gaza since the war began.

According to the CBS reports, top officials have discussed the possibility of helping additional Palestinians with U.S.-based families leave Gaza if they can work in coordination with Egypt. They would have to pass eligibility tests, including medical and security screenings, to be able to fly to the U.S. on refugee status.

“At President Biden’s direction, we have also helped, and will continue to help, some particularly vulnerable individuals, such as children with serious health problems and children who were receiving treatment for cancer, get out of harm’s way and receive care at nearby hospitals in the region,” the White House said in its statement.

The idea would offer a relatively small number of people the opportunity to leave Gaza, but the proposal marks a shift in the U.S.’ longstanding refugee program. Since its inception in 1980, the program has not resettled Palestinians in the U.S. in large numbers. Of the more than 400,000 refugees resettled by the U.S. in the last ten years, less than 600 were Palestinian, CBS reported.

The White House said the U.S. continues to be the largest contributor of humanitarian aid to Gaza to address the “dire conditions,” where more than 34,000 people have died and famine is widespread. The Biden administration said they are “pressing hard” to get more aid to civilians as soon as possible.

“We have also been clear and consistent: the United States categorically rejects any actions leading to the forced relocation of Palestinians from Gaza or the West Bank or the redrawing of the borders of Gaza,” the statement said. “The best path forward is to achieve a sustainable cease-fire through a hostage deal that will stabilize the situation and pave the way to a two-state solution.”

Source: The Hill

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