ATFL Statement: The US Should Protect Lebanese Citizens from Deportation to an Unstable Lebanon
Washington, DC, October 15, 2021 (ATFL) – The American Task Force on Lebanon (ATFL), a leadership organization of Americans of Lebanese descent, urges the Biden Administration to reconsider the decision by the Department of Homeland Security to refuse Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation to Lebanese visitors in the US. TPS, based on a Congressional statute, protects certain overseas visitors in the US from deportation for a specified period of time if they are in danger of overstaying their visas. TPS beneficiaries receive a stay of deportation and are granted work authorization.
The other option, at the discretion of the President, is the category of Deferred Enforced Departure (DED), which allows certain individuals from designated countries and regions facing political or civic conflict or natural disaster to stay in the United States.
The situation in Lebanon has become perilous for many. The economy is failing, the government stalemated, the electrical grid collapsing, a sharply devalued currency, increased poverty and malnutrition, and dwindling essential products and services such as food, medicines, healthcare, and fuel. These circumstances in many cases can represent a life-threatening situation.
ATFL President Ambassador Ed Gabriel (Ret.) noted that “Lebanon has been referred to by the World Bank as possibly one of the three worst economic disasters since the mid-1800s. The Biden administration should show compassion for these Lebanese citizens who are currently in the US and need temporary protected status at this gravest time in Lebanon’s history. We also call upon the Congress to enact legislation calling for temporary protected status for those Lebanese currently in the US.”
The American Task Force on Lebanon is 501(C)3 nonprofit organization of prominent Americans of Lebanese heritage, who educate for the strengthening of the historic U.S.-Lebanon relationship. The mission and objectives of ATFL shall always be in the best interest of the United States and will promote the national unity, independence, and prosperity of a democratic and multi-sectarian Lebanon.