A number of House Democrats, led by Representative Rashida Tlaib, D-Mich., Are calling on President Trump to allow Lebanese nationals temporarily in the United States to stay, following an explosion in Beirut this month- this.
“As 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,” said one letter signed by Tlaib and over 80 other Democrats.
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The Lebanese capital was shaken on August 4 by the explosion, caused by an explosion of thousands of tons of ammonium nitrate. It has killed more than 180 people, injured hundreds of thousands and left a quarter of a million homeless. The country has also seen an increase in COVID-19 cases.
Democrats have called on Trump and Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf to nominate Lebanon for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) or Delayed Forced Departure (DED) so that Lebanese nationals in the country on a temporary basis do not don’t need to come back.
TPS allows the administration to designate a country as having conditions that temporarily prevent its nationals from returning safely. Currently, the countries designated for the TPS are El Salvador, Haiti, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.
Given the scale of the crisis, it is imperative that the Administration take immediate steps to exercise its discretion – in the interests of national interest – to allow Lebanese nationals to remain in the United States at this time, by designating Lebanon for TPS or DED, ”says the letter.
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Democrats also call on Trump to “welcome to our country the people and families permanently displaced by this disaster by any means available to you, including humanitarian parole.”
The United States responded with $ 18 million in humanitarian aid to Lebanon, but stressed the need for political reforms in the country, where the Hezbollah terrorist organization has significant influence. He was struck by protests from those angry with the government, which resigned following the blast and now occupies the post of guard.
David Hale, US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, said this week that while the United States would provide aid for “the immediate humanitarian emergency,” further aid would require political reforms.
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“But for the kind of substantial help the Lebanese are asking for to restructure their finances and their economy, it will take leaders who engage in these far-reaching reforms that we have been talking to the Lebanese about for years now,” he said. during a call with journalists.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.