President Joe Biden and the U.S. continue to stand by their ‘man’ Israel, regardless of the blatant wrong meted out to Palestinians that triggered this latest round of assault.
Now as Palestine and Israel lurch closer to war in the Middle East, and the U.S. continues to back Israel while trying but failing to appear unbiased, the least the Biden administration can do is consider giving Temporary Protected Status (TPS) to Palestinians living without legal status in the U.S., despite the fact that they are considered to be “stateless.”
After all, they are about 250,000 living in the U.S. and far less without legal working papers. It is the least the U.S. can do. This will allow those that came in as visitors and those who are undocumented, to remain here legally, enabling them to get work permits, Social Security numbers, driver’s licenses, etc.
TPS, after all, is according to the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS), granted by the secretary of Homeland Security based on “conditions that temporarily prevent the country’s nationals from returning safely, or in certain circumstances, where the country is unable to handle the return of its nationals adequately.”
Those temporary conditions can include “ongoing armed conflict (such as civil war) and other extraordinary and temporary conditions.”
Individuals who entered the United States with a temporary visa and stayed once their visa expired can apply for TPS once approved, as well as those who entered the U.S. illegally. Those in the U.S. holding a valid nonimmigrant visa are also eligible for TPS, which they might do if, for instance, their visa was about to expire.
Once granted TPS, individuals must re-register during each re-registration period to maintain their status.
Temporary protection would provide Palestinian refugees a recognized legal status and allow them to work, to travel freely, to live where h/she chooses, to reunite with family members, and to travel outside and return with special permission.
The U.S. CIS Service has only rarely recognized “Palestinian” as a nationality so it would be a historic moment if the Biden administration takes such a bold stance.
After all, the Biden administration had, before this escalation in conflict between Israel and Palestine, said it would restore diplomatic relations with the Palestinian Authority, ending a Trump policy.
It had also reaffirmed support for a “mutually agreed, two-state solution” between Israel and the Palestinians, “in which Israel lives in peace and security, alongside a viable Palestinian state.” And said it will restore U.S. assistance programs that support economic development and humanitarian aid for the Palestinian people.”
President Biden can now make history by announcing TPS for Palestinians in the U.S. It would allow the world to see that this administration is not status quo and biased like too many others, but ready to take a small step towards unbiased actions in 2021 to righting a decades old wrong.
However, I won’t hold my breath for if history has taught us anything, it’s that any U.S. administration will hold its nose and sacrifice millions at the altar of bullyism and xenophobia. Joe Biden’s continued silence proves this.
The writer is publisher of NewsAmericasNow