Israel’s expected ground offensive in Gaza has yet to begin, but we are already hearing calls for the Biden administration to welcome Gaza residents to the United States using immigration parole authority. Doing so, in the midst of an already raging migration crisis, would be both illegal and ill-conceived.
Long before Hamas launched its barbaric attacks on Israel on October 7, Gaza’s nearest Arab neighbor, Egypt, had sealed its border with the territory. In the aftermath of the attacks, Egypt and another neighboring Arab nation, Jordan, have made it clear that, if anything, they are now more opposed to allowing Gaza residents in. “There will be no refugees in Jordan and no refugees in Egypt,” Jordan’s King Abdullah II declared.
Egypt and Jordan fully understand the dangers of allowing resettlement of people from a terrorist-controlled enclave. The United States should as well. Hamas, and their overlords in Tehran, already threatened a “global day of jihad” in response to the expected Israeli ground invasion of Gaza. Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, followed up with a not so cryptic call for war on “multiple fronts,” which could include acts of terror in the United States and elsewhere. We should take them at their word.
To be clear, President Biden has no legal authority to grant wholesale parole to Gazans or anyone else. Section 212(d)(5)(A) of the Immigration and Nationality Act requires that parole be only granted on a temporary and case-by-case basis and in service of some compelling need or public benefit. In other words, the parole authority cannot be construed as a license to allow entire populations of people from war-torn areas to enter and remain in the United States.
Moreover, the law clearly states that parole authority cannot be used to circumvent the refugee program. Section 212(d)(5)(B) states that “[The Secretary] may not parole into the United States an alien who is a refugee unless the [Secretary] determines that compelling reasons in the public interest with respect to that particular alien require that the alien be paroled into the United States rather than be admitted as a refugee … “
The statute also requires that grants of parole be temporary. It would strain credulity to suggest that anyone from Gaza who has been relocated to the United States is going to willingly return after Israel finishes its military operation, or that our government would compel them to return. The illegality of mass parole for Gazans aside, it would defy all common sense to bring large numbers of unvettable people from a territory that has been controlled by a terrorist organization for the past 16 years to our shores.
When it comes to immigration, the Biden administration has a long history of ignoring common sense. Some 9 million (including at least 1.7 million gotaways) people have attempted to enter our country illegally since President Biden took office. Yet, there is no strategy, desire or willingness to end the border crisis.
Owing to the chaos that Biden administration policies have unleashed at our borders, our national security is already threatened. There have been confirmed incidents of terror suspects being released from custody, and a smuggler with connections to ISIS bringing people across our borders. Those are the ones we know about. Not everyone who poses a threat is on the terror watch list, nor do we have any way of knowing how many dangerous actors may be among the 1.7 million people who eluded apprehension at the border. With national security stakes as high as they have been at least since 9/11, the Biden administration must not be permitted to disregard statutory limits on parole authority to allow large numbers of Gazans to enter the U.S..
Israel has made it very clear that their objective is to dislodge Hamas from Gaza, not its people. The United States, therefore, must encourage Egypt and other Arab neighbors to provide short-term refuge for the duration of Israel’s military operation, so that they can return home once the Iranian-backed terror group is defeated.
Another massive abuse of parole authority by the Biden administration will not only prevent Gaza from recovering once the territory is liberated from the clutches of Hamas; it would create more security risks to the United States. We can afford neither.
Dan Stein is president of the Federation for American Immigration Reform (FAIR).
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller.