National News

Catholic Immigration Group Pleased With White House Order Protecting Palestinians from Deportation

Destroyed buildings lie in ruin in central Gaza, as seen from Israel Jan. 13, 2024, amid the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist group Hamas, near the Israel-Gaza border,(OSV News photo/Amir Cohen, Reuters)

WASHINGTON – Catholic immigration officials said they welcomed a recent order from the White House allowing Palestinian immigrants to stay in the U.S. without facing deportation amid the ongoing conflict in that region.

“The dire and worsening humanitarian conditions faced by Palestinians make their safe return impossible, and the president’s exercise of constitutional authority in this matter is precisely what it was intended for,” said Anna Gallagher, executive director of the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc., known as CLINIC.

President Joe Biden issued the directive Feb. 14 allowing Palestinian immigrants who qualify to be provided with a “temporary safe haven” to stay in the country for 18 months under a deferred enforced departure.

Palestinians who have been convicted of felonies or pose a public safety treat do not qualify do not qualify for the deportation deferral.

Karen Sullivan, CLINIC’s director of advocacy, said in a Feb. 16 statement that the agency “looks forward to serving the estimated 6,000 people who will benefit from this protection,” and that it will “continue to advocate for the administration to extend protection to all people whose safety and human dignity are threatened due to conflict or natural disaster.”

“CLINIC remains aligned in prayer with people of all faiths that a peaceful end may be reached to the ongoing violence in the region,” the group’s statement added.

Biden’s decision comes after more than 100 Democratic lawmakers called on the White House to use either deferred enforced departure or temporary protected status for Palestinians currently in the United States to ensure that they would not be forced to return to wartime conditions in Gaza.

“More than 28,000 Palestinians — including thousands of women and children — have been killed in the last four months in Gaza,” Sen. Dick Durbin, D-Ill., leading the effort to help Palestinian immigrants, said in a Feb. 14 statement.