Monday, September 18, 2006

PR: Groups back "Protected Status" designation for Lebanon and Gaza Strip

ADC Press Release:
Over 40 Organizations Support ADC's Request for Temporary Protected Status for Lebanon and Gaza

Washington, DC September 18, 2006 Today, over 40 organizations, from across the United States, endorsed a letter in support of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee's (ADC) administrative request that the Department of Homeland Security and the Department of State designate Lebanon and the Gaza Strip for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) due to the severe humanitarian crisis in those areas.TPS would allow nationals of Lebanon and residents of the Gaza Strip to remain in the United States on a temporary basis to ensure that they are not returned to an area rife with violence, with dwindling access to water, medical and food supplies.ADC's administrative request, filed on July 24, 2006

(See: )

calls on Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff and Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice to designate Lebanon and the Gaza Strip for TPS due to the severe ongoing humanitarian crisis in both Lebanon and the Gaza Strip. Recently, ADC has had discussions about this request with officials from both the US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and Department of State.In light of the continuing crisis, Palestinian and Lebanese nationals cannot be returned to those areas without great threat to their safety. Today’s letter (see below) renews the request on DHS and the Department of State to act on this issue and to grant TPS to citizens of Lebanon and residents of the Gaza Strip.


September 18, 2006

Dear Secretary Chertoff:

In light of the continuing humanitarian crisis in Lebanon and the Gaza Strip, we, the undersigned local and national civil and human rights organizations, are writing in support of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee's July 24, 2006 request for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) Designation for the citizens of Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.Continuing Humanitarian Crisis in Lebanon:Lebanon continues to face a humanitarian crisis despite the August 14th, 2006 ceasefire due to the destruction of thousands of civilian homes, the destruction of the country's infrastructure, and the recently lifted air and sea blockade. At least 1,183 Lebanese civilians died as a result of the conflict, and according to UNICEF, one third of the civilian casualties have been children. The United Nations estimates that 15, 000 homes have been destroyed with an additional 7,500 homes that were damaged. The bombings and the destruction of homes and civilian infrastructure has caused the displacement of 970,000 Lebanese nationals. Water mains, wells, storage tanks, power plants, pumping stations and water treatment works have been severely damaged throughout the country but especially in Southern Lebanon further aggravating humanitarian conditions including access to clean water and medical treatment. Due to the heavy damages incurred by Beirut Airport, traveling to and from Lebanon remains difficult if not impossible. In addition, the severe damage or destruction of Lebanon's roads and bridges, further complicate the return of civilians to their homes and access to food supplies and clean water.Current Humanitarian Crisis in the Gaza Strip:While the world’s focus has rightly been focused on Lebanon's humanitarian crisis, the situation in the Gaza Strip continues to worsen. In addition to the concerns mentioned in our first letter (see link below), the number of civilian casualties continues to grow. According to the United Nations, more than 200 Gaza Strip civilians have been killed, more than a quarter of which have been children. The recent August 15, 2006 closure of the Karni crossing preventing aid from reaching the densely populated Gaza Strip has only exacerbated Gaza's humanitarian crisis. The United Nations recent report states that since June 28, 2006, the Israeli Air Force has launched at least 267 air attacks on the densely populated Gaza Strip destroying more than 300 homes, hundreds of greenhouses and its civilian infrastructure. The destruction of Gaza’s powerplants and bridges leave more than one million Gazans with very limited access to food and water with 70% of the population relying on food aid.On behalf of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee and undersigned local and national organizations, we renew our request and urge you, Secretary Chertoff, to designate Lebanon and the Gaza Strip for Temporary Protected Status to ensure the safe return of their nationals.We would appreciate the opportunity to meet with you and your staff to further discuss this matter.Sincerely,The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC)American Arab Chamber of CommerceArab American Community Coalition – Seattle, WashingtonArab Community Center for Economic and Social Services (ACCESS)Arab Law Students Association—American University Washington College of LawCongress of Arab American Organizations (CAAO)Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR)Lebanese American Heritage ClubNational Committee Against Repressive Legislation (NCARL)The National Immigration Project of the National Lawyer’s GuildThe National Lawyers Guild (NLG)New Alliance for Middle East Solutions (NAMES)The Society for Justice in Palestine/Israel—American University Washington College of LawUS Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation


ADC—Baltimore ChapterADC—Connecticut ChapterADC—Greater Chicago ChapterADC—Greater Detroit ChapterADC—Houston ChapterADC—Kalamazoo ChapterADC—Kentucky ChapterADC—Las Vegas ChapterADC—Los Angeles ChapterADC—Massachusetts ChapterADC—New Jersey ChapterADC—New York ChapterADC—Orange County ChapterADC—Philadelphia ChapterADC—Phoenix ChapterADC—San Diego ChapterADC—San Francisco ChapterADC—Seattle ChapterADC—St. Louis ChapterADC—Tucson ChapterADC—University of Michigan ChapterADC—Washington, D.C. Area ChapterADC—Wayne State University ChapterADC—Wisconsin ChapterTo see ADC's July 24, 2006, letter requesting Temporary Protected Status for nationals of the Gaza Strip and Lebanon, click: