Biden shields Palestinians in US from deportation

President Joe Biden has signed an order shielding Palestinians in the United States from deportation for the next 18 months, the White House said on Wednesday, citing deteriorating humanitarian conditions in the Gaza Strip.

The move grants “deferred enforced departure” to an estimated 6,000 Palestinians, a Biden administration official said, reported Reuters.

In a statement, White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan said that following “the horrific October 7 terrorist attack by Hamas against Israel, and Israel’s ensuing military response, humanitarian conditions in Gaza have significantly deteriorated.”

Sullivan said Biden’s move would give Palestinians in the U.S. “a temporary safe haven.” Anyone who voluntarily returns to the Palestinian territories would lose their protections, he added.

After more than four months of war, Biden is facing pressure to do more to protect Palestinians in Gaza and get aid into the enclave.