As Crisis in Lebanon Deepens, Nearly 150 NGOs Call for TPS or DED for Nationals in the United States

SILVER SPRING, Maryland — Nearly 150 state, local and national organizations sent a letter to the Trump administration calling for an immediate 18-month designation of Deferred Enforced Departure, or DED, or Temporary Protected Status, known as TPS, for Lebanon. The recent Beirut explosions, compounded by already-existing civil and political unrest, an economic and humanitarian crisis and COVID-19 have created a “perfect storm” that would make the deportation of Lebanese nationals from the U.S. both dangerous and wrong.

Cases of COVID-19 were quickly rising before the August explosion killed hundreds and injured thousands in Beirut. Already, the economic crisis left hospitals and health care facilities unable to purchase basic supplies. The virus is now surging in the aftermath of the explosions, while hospitals and other facilities have been destroyed.

The country is heading into a lockdown, sure to deepen the economic and food deprivation. Prior to the explosions and COVID-19, 3.2 million people — more than half of Lebanon’s population — were already in need of humanitarian aid. As one Lebanese national in the U.S. in need of protection recently messaged CLINIC: “We are the unlucky part of the world starving for hope.” 

Abed Ayoub, Legal and Policy Director at the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, said: “These are exactly the conditions Congress envisioned when it created TPS in 1990. The disaster that struck Lebanon in early August is compounded and made worse with the on-going economic crisis facing the nation. In addition, a looming humanitarian crisis caused by a number of factors make it even more prudent that the Administration act now to protect Lebanese nationals currently in the United States. We urge Acting Secretary Wolf and President Trump to take immediate action and offer shelter and safe haven to the people of Lebanon.” 

Added Jill Marie Bussey, director of Advocacy at the Catholic Legal Immigration Network, Inc.: “Designating TPS or DED is clearly warranted under the law and vital to the United States’ overall response to the crisis in Lebanon. We continue to call on the administration to use these life-saving protections as they were intended and not politicize human life. TPS or DED would safeguard extremely vulnerable people and send a message to the world that we stand with the people of Lebanon at this catastrophic time.”

To date, the Trump administration has not articulated a stance on designating TPS or DED for Lebanon. Read the letter, signed by 148 organizations, here.