Refugees currently undergo the most rigorous security screening process of anyone who comes to the United States.
AILA Doc No. 06081163 | Dated August 10, 2006
RESOLUTION ON TEMPORARY PROTECTED STATUS FOR LEBANESE NATIONALS
August 10, 2006
AILA hereby supports the extension of Temporary Protected Status to Lebanese nationals under §244(b) of the Immigration and Nationality Act as set forth in Senate Bill 3765 (Lebanese Temporary Protected Status Act of 2006) proposed by Senators Durbin, Sununu, Feingold, and Stabenow.
As stated in the attached floor statement by Senator Richard Durbin, the hostilities in the Middle East have already cost many innocent Israeli and Lebanese lives. There is an ongoing urgent humanitarian crisis in Lebanon. The United Nations (UN) estimates that 700,000 people have been displaced from their homes, which is almost 20 percent of the population of Lebanon. According to Catholic Relief Services, "Many of those who have been displaced have taken refuge in mosques, churches and schools. The stocks of basic food and relief items, including much needed medicines, are dwindling."
The UN has said:
There has been widespread damage to infrastructure with hospitals, schools, roads, bridges, fuel storage depots, airports and seaports sustaining damage. This, of course, has severe implications on the ability to deliver humanitarian assistance to those most in need. In addition, prices of even basic necessities have skyrocketed.
U.N. emergency relief coordinator Jan Egeland has called the crisis, "The hour of greatest need for the Lebanese people."
The American Immigration Lawyers Association (AILA) is the national association of immigration lawyers established to promote justice, advocate for fair and reasonable immigration law and policy, advance the quality of immigration and nationality law and practice, and enhance the professional development of its members. AILA has supported the grant of Temporary Protected Status in certain cases in the past, e.g. for Haitians in October of 2004 due to hurricane devastation, based on a studied consideration of the totality of the circumstances.
In this situation, S. 3765 would extend Temporary Protected Status to Lebanese nationals based on the armed conflict section of INA § 244(b)(1)(A) and the existence of extraordinary and temporary conditions under INA § 244(b)(1)(C). In supporting this proposed legislation, AILA has consulted with representatives of the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) and the American Jewish Committee (AJC) after receiving information regarding a proposal by the American-Arab Anti Discrimination Committee (ADC) for Temporary Protected Status for Lebanese nationals.
The ongoing conflict in the Middle East is polarizing, violent, devastating, and complex. AILA's membership is comprised of attorneys assisting people via numerous humanitarian missions as well as on an individual basis. AILA's statement in support of a grant of Temporary Protected Status to Lebanese nationals is in keeping with the association's mission to advocate for fair United States immigration policy. Of course, Temporary Protected Status may not be granted to those who pose a danger to the security of the United States as well as to those subject to the other exceptions set forth in INA §208(b)(2)(A).
This resolution is not meant as a political statement with regard to the conflict in the Middle East, nor is it meant to be the final position of the association as to support for Temporary Protected Status for other countries in the Middle East in the future. AILA has no political role in the Middle East conflict, but AILA must support its mission from an immigration policy perspective. AILA has been asked to express support for S. 3765, and we believe it is consistent with the association's mission to do so.
Please refer to the attached copies of S. 3765, Senator Durbin's floor statement, and the bill summary for S. 3765.
IMPLEMENTATION: If adopted, the resolution will guide the activities of AILA in working with NGO colleagues, the Department of Homeland Security, Congress and the Administration concerning the extension of Temporary Protected Status for Lebanese in the United States based on the Sense of Congress reflected in S. 3765.
Cite as AILA Doc. No. 06081163.