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WASHINGTON: 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.
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 US “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. He has also faced criticism from Arab-American and Muslim leaders for not calling for a permanent ceasefire in the conflict.
Abed Ayoub, executive director of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, said in a statement there “is a desperate need” for measures protecting Palestinians in the US.
“We see the situation in Gaza and Palestine is not getting better, and this is something that is welcome, and we are glad to see it implemented,” Ayoub said.
Gaza health officials say at least 28,500 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli attacks on Gaza since Oct. 7, when Hamas militants killed 1,200 people and took around 250 others hostage during a rampage in southern Israel, according to Israeli tallies.

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