POLICY Statement

December 10, 2021: ATFL Commends Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib for Leadership in Calling for Temporary Protected Status for Lebanese Citizens

December 10, 2021

Washington, DC, December 10, 2021 (ATFL) - The American Task Force on Lebanon (ATFL), a leadership organization of Americans of Lebanese descent, commends Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib for introducing H.R.6095 - To designate Lebanon under section 244 of the Immigration and Nationality Act to permit Lebanese nationals in the US to be eligible for temporary protected status if they are in danger of overstaying their visas. 

On November 30, Congresswoman Tlaib  was joined by Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI), Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA), and Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) as original co-sponsors. The bill has since amassed 11 co-sponsors, including Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI), who recently joined ATFL on a Congressional delegation to Lebanon in late November.

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.

Despite a letter, led by Rep. Dingell and the other original cosponsors of H.R. 6095, the Department of Homeland Security declined to designate Lebanon for temporary protected status in October. ATFL responded by calling on the Biden Administration to reverse this decision in an October 15 statement.

ATFL was quoted in a press release issued by Rep. Dingell’s office on November 30, stating “The American Task Force on Lebanon supports the need to assist Lebanese citizens in danger of overstaying their visas as a result of the difficult and often desperate situation in Lebanon, as proposed in draft legislation offered by Representatives Tlaib, Dingell, Lofgren and Nadler. Faced with one of the worst disasters since the 1800’s they should be afforded the designation of Temporary Protected Status as recommended for 18 months to ensure their compliance with US law. During such difficult times the US has prided itself as a friend and welcoming host to those who are in danger of displacement and hardship.”

“ATFL continues to advocate for Lebanon to be designated for TPS. We continue to push the Biden Administration to do so and are strongly supportive of H.R.6095 and Congress’s leadership in this effort. Importantly, we encourage our members to take action by asking their representatives to co-sponsor this bill and vote for its final passage” said ATFL President Ed Gabriel.

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