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Report: Biden administration in talks to allow some Gazan refugees to enter US

May 1

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The Biden administration is considering admitting certain Palestinians to the United States as refugees, according to documents obtained by CBS News on Wednesday, May 1. These documents revealed discussions among senior officials from various U.S. agencies on the possibility of resettling Palestinians from Gaza. Eligible Palestinians include those who have immediate family members who are American citizens or permanent residents.

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One proposal involves using the United States Refugee Admissions Program to welcome Palestinians with U.S. ties who have managed to escape Gaza and enter neighboring Egypt. Another option is coordinating with Egypt to manage the departure of additional Palestinians from Gaza who have American relatives.

Those who pass eligibility, medical and security screenings, and prove they are fleeing persecution, would qualify for refugee status. That would grant permanent residency, resettlement benefits and a path to American citizenship. While the eligible population is expected to be relatively small, these plans could offer a lifeline to some Palestinians fleeing the Israel-Hamas conflict. Thousands have been killed in the conflict, and it displaced hundreds of thousands more people in Gaza.

The White House said that the U.S. helped more than 1,800 American citizens and their families leave Gaza since October. However, officials emphasized that the U.S. categorically rejects any actions leading to the forced relocation of Palestinians in Gaza or the West Bank.

This potential policy shift marks a departure from longstanding U.S. refugee practices. Since 1980, the United States resettled Palestinians in small numbers. The U.S. admitted fewer than 600 Palestinian refugees over the past decade.

While many Democrats may support this move, Republicans previously expressed opposition to welcoming Palestinian refugees. Former Republican presidential candidate, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, expressed concerns about national security. He claimed all Palestinians are antisemitic. Former President Donald Trump said he would suspend refugee resettlement and ban refugees from Gaza.

The Biden administration has significantly increased refugee resettlement efforts compared to the previous administration, aiming to admit up to 125,000 refugees in the fiscal year 2024. That is a significant increase from the more than 60,000 refugees resettled in fiscal year 2023.

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[LAUREN TAYLOR]

THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION COULD SOON ADMIT CERTAIN PALESTINIAN REFUGEES INTO THE U.S., ACCORDING TO DOCUMENTS OBTAINED BY CBS NEWS.

VARIOUS AGENCIES ARE LOOKING INTO THE POSSIBILITY OF RESETTLING PALESTINIANS FLEEING GAZA THAT 

HAVE IMMEDIATE FAMILY WHO ARE AMERICAN CITIZENS OR PERMANENT RESIDENTS.

ONE PROPOSAL INVOLVES USING THE UNITED STATES REFUGEE ADMISSIONS PROGRAM. 

IT WOULD WELCOME PALESTINIANS WHO ESCAPED GAZA AND ENTERED EGYPT.

ANOTHER OPTION IS WORKING WITH EGYPT TO ORGANIZE THE DEPARTURE OF ADDITIONAL PALESTINIANS FROM GAZA.

PALESTINIANS WHO PASS ELIGIBILITY, MEDICAL AND SECURITY SCREENINGS, AND PROVE THEY ARE FLEEING PERSECUTION WOULD QUALIFY AS REFUGEES.

IF APPROVED IT WOULD GRANT THEM PERMANENT RESIDENCY, RESETTLEMENT BENEFITS AND A PATH TO CITIZENSHIP. 

THE ISRAEL-HAMAS WARHAS CLAIMED MORE THAN 34-THOUSAND PALESTINIAN LIVES, ACCORDING TO THE HAMAS-CONTROLLED GAZA HEALTH MINISTRY. 

AND THE CONFLICT HAS DISPLACED HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS IN GAZA. 

THE WHITE HOUSE SAID THE U-S HAS HELPED MORE THAN 18-HUNDRED AMERICAN CITIZENS AND THEIR FAMILIES IN GAZA SINCE THE START OF THE WAR.

HOWEVER, THEY EMPHASIZE THE U-S REJECTS ANY ACTIONS LEADING TO THE FORCED RELOCATION OF PALESTINIANS.

THE POTENTIAL SHIFT IN POLICY MARKS A DEPARTURE FROM LONGSTANDING U-S REFUGEE PRACTICES. THE U-S HAS RESETTLED FEWER THAN 600 PALESTINIANS OVER THE PAST DECADE.

WHILE MANY DEMOCRATS MAY SUPPORT THIS MOVE, REPUBLICANS PREVIOUSLY EXPRESSED OPPOSITION TO WELCOMING PALESTINIAN REFUGEES.

FOR INSTANCE, FORMER PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE, FLORIDA GOVERNOR RON DESANTIS EXPRESSED CONCERNS ABOUT NATIONAL SECURITY AND CLAIMED ALL PALESTINIANS ARE ANTISEMITIC.

WHILE REPUBLICAN FRONTRUNNER, FORMER PRESIDENT TRUMP SAID HE WOULD SUSPEND REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT AND BAN REFUGEES FROM GAZA. 

THE BIDEN ADMINISTRATION HAS SIGNIFICANTLY INCREASED REFUGEE RESETTLEMENT EFFORTS COMPARED TO THE PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATION. 

AIMING TO ADMIT UP TO 125-THOUSAND REFUGEES IN THE FISCAL YEAR 2024, A SIGNIFICANT INCREASE FROM THE 60,000 REFUGEES RESETTLED IN FISCAL 2023. 

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