Biden Administration Considers Accepting Gaza Refugees: Report

By Jason Hall

May 1, 2024

President Biden Delivers Remarks To The South Carolina Democratic Party
Photo: Getty Images

Top officials within President Joe Biden's administration are reportedly considering plans to accept Palestinian refugees amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, according to internal federal government documents obtained by CBS News.

Senior officials for several federal agencies have discussed multiple options to resettle Palestinians who have immediate family members who are American citizens or permanent residents from Gaza in recent weeks, which includes using the United States Refugee Admissions Program to accept those who have already escaped Gaza and relocated to neighboring Egypt, as well as getting additional Palestinians with ties to the U.S. out of Gaza, the documents confirmed. The reported plans would require coordination with Egypt, which has already turned away large numbers of Gaza residents, amid the ongoing Israel-Hamas war.

Individuals who pass a series of eligibility, medical and security screenings would qualify for refugee status, which offers permanent residency, resettlement benefits such as housing and the path to American citizenship, prior to being flown to the United States for relocation. A White House spokesperson issued a statement to CBS News late Tuesday (April 30) night in response to the report and claimed the U.S. had already "helped more than 1,800 American citizens and their families leave Gaza, many of whom have come to the United States. 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 statement added that the U.S. "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 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."

At least 1,100 people, including several American citizens, were killed and thousands more were injured in the initial terror attacks on Israel by Hamas on October 7, 2023. More than 30,000 people have died in retaliation attacks on Gaza as of Wednesday, the Hamas-run Health Ministry said via the Associated Press.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared, "we are in a war," in a video shared on social media after the attacks, which included land, air and sea as Hamas fighters infiltrated Israel's southern border and fired rockets from the Gaza Strip. Netanyahu ordered an "extensive reserve mobilization" in retaliation for the unprecedented attacks.

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