Tlaib, Nalder, Lofgren, Dingell and Kaptur Lead 80 Members of Congress in Urging Temporary Protections for Lebanese Nationals in Light of Beirut Blast

August 20, 2020
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (MI-13), House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler (NY-10), House Judiciary Committee Subcommittee on Immigration and Citizenship Chairwoman Zoe Lofgren (CA-16), Congresswoman Debbie Dingell (MI-12), and Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur (OH-09) led a letter urging President Trump and Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf to immediately designate Lebanon for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) to provide a safe haven to Lebanese nationals in the United States in the wake of the Beirut disaster. The letter also urges the Administration to welcome to our country individuals and families permanently displaced by this disaster through any and all means at its disposal, including humanitarian parole.

The letter, which has been endorsed by the Arab American Institute (AAI), American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), ACCESS, the Arab American Heritage Council, Michigan Immigrant Rights Center (MIRC) and Michigan United, was signed by more than 80 Members of Congress. In it, the members acknowledge the extremely difficult circumstances facing the people of Lebanon, who were already contending with a worsening COVID-19 pandemic and increasingly dire economic collapse prior to the devastating blast on August 4.

The lawmakers noted, “As news reports of the impact of the Beirut explosion continue to unfold, it is clear that Lebanon is not in a position to safely accept the return of its citizens at this time. Given the sheer scale of the crisis, it is imperative that the Administration take immediate steps to exercise its discretion—as a matter of national interest—to allow Lebanese nationals to remain in the United States at this time, by designating Lebanon for TPS or DED.”

“Additionally, given the extent of the destruction in Beirut, the imminent homelessness of hundreds of thousands of people, and the impending humanitarian crisis in Lebanon, we urge you to welcome to our country individuals and families permanently displaced by this disaster through any and all means at your disposal, including humanitarian parole…To turn away families in desperate need of refuge goes against everything we as Americans stand for,” the members added.

The letter is the latest push in Congress to provide relief to the people of Lebanon in the wake of the Beirut disaster, which killed hundreds, wounded thousands, left several hundred thousand homeless, and destroyed much of the Lebanese capital.

The full text of the letter, which was signed by 81 members of Congress, is available here.