Letter to Joe Biden, President - Dingell, Tlaib, Lofgren, Nadler Lead Over 65 Colleagues in Urging for Lebanon TPS Designation


We write to urge you to exercise your discretion to protect Lebanese nationals who are
currently in the United States and permit those affected by the ongoing crises in Lebanon to find
safe haven in our country by designating Lebanon for Temporary Protected Status (TPS), or at a
minimum, by allowing Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) for Lebanese nationals.
Section 244(b)(1) of the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA) provides executive
authority to grant TPS to individuals who are nationals of a country that has been designated as
unsafe for return due to "ongoing armed conflict," "environmental disaster," or "extraordinary
and temporary conditions in the foreign state that prevent aliens who are nationals of the state
from returning to the state in safety," unless it would be contrary to the national interest.1
Similarly, nationals of a country may receive a temporary administrative stay of removal in the
form of DED, by Executive Order or a Presidential Memorandum.2 As the current crises in
Lebanon clearly meet these criteria, immediate action to protect Lebanese nationals is warranted.
The COVID-19 pandemic, Beirut Port explosion, economic meltdown and ongoing
political crisis have combined to create one of the worst humanitarian crises globally, resulting in
a widespread lack of access to medical care, potable water, food, electricity, and fuel. According
to the United Nations, up to 78 percent of the Lebanese population (3 million people) were living
in poverty as of March 2021, with an estimated 36 percent (1.38 million people) experiencing extreme poverty.3 Since October 2019, the Lebanese pound has lost 90 percent of its value,
resulting in a year-on-year inflation rate of more than 120% from May 2020 to May 2021. At the
same time, food prices have skyrocketed, increasing 400 percent in 2020 alone.4 Fuel shortages
are so dire that hospitals are struggling to keep the lights on, leading the American University of
Beirut Medical Center, Beirut's top hospital and one of the leading medical centers in the region,
to issue a warning that hundreds of patients will die if they fail to secure enough fuel to keep
their generators running.5 On top of all this, Lebanon has not had a fully formed government in
over a year, hobbling the ability of authorities to address these crises.
Speaking to the Conference to Support the Lebanese People on the anniversary of the
Beirut Port explosion, you, Mr. President, spoke of the United States' "longstanding support for
the Lebanese people" and recognized "that the people of Lebanon have suffered more over the
past year because of avoidable political and economic crises." 6 While we commend your
decision to send an additional $98 million in humanitarian aid to Lebanon, given the scale of the
crises, it is clear that the country is not in a position to safely accept the return of its citizens at
this time. Standing with the Lebanese people in their time of need is both morally right and in
line with our national interests. As such, it is imperative that your Administration take immediate
steps to designate Lebanon for TPS, or at a minimum, defer removal for Lebanese nationals
through DED.
The United States has long offered shelter to those seeking refuge from catastrophe. Now
is the time to continue this tradition and stand beside the Lebanese people in their time of need.
We appreciate your consideration of this request and look forward to your response.