Democrat Rep. Jamaal Bowman: U.S. Should ‘Welcome’ Palestinian Refugees

U.S. Representative Jamaal Bowman speaks at Grammys On The Hill: Advocacy Day on April 27,
Leigh Vogel/Getty Images for The Recording Academy

Democrat New York Rep. Jamaal Bowman has called on the United States to “welcome” Palestinian refugees as experts predict that one million people fleeing the Gaza Strip will need new homes. 

“Fifty percent of the population in Gaza are children,” the congressman told the New York Post on Saturday. “The international community as well as the United States should be prepared to welcome refugees from Palestine while being very careful to vet and not allow members of Hamas.”

His call for the United States to take in Palestinians came after Israel gave residents of northern Gaza a 24-hour warning to evacuate to the southern portion of the strip. Over 400,000 Gazans have fled their homes as of Saturday morning, the Times of Israel reported.

Egypt has closed its border with Gaza and is unwilling to receive Palestinian refugees. 

A picture taken on October 10, 2023, shows the closed gates of the Rafah border crossing with Egypt, which is Gaza’s only border crossing with Egypt that bypasses Israel. (SAID KHATIB/AFP via Getty Images)

In response to devastating attacks from the Islamist terror group Hamas which killed 1,300 Israelis last Saturday, Israel has launched a deadly response into Gaza. Despite being given the warning, many civilians who were unable or unwilling to leave their homes perished in the shellings from Israel.

“According to the latest reports by local health authorities and media, at least 2,215 Palestinians were reportedly killed, including over 700 children, and more than 8,714 people wounded, including more than 2,450 children,” UNICEF spokeswoman Sara Al Hattab told CNN.

In a statement to the New York Post, the founder of the World Identity Network Foundation, Mariana Dahan, estimated the conflict “may add over one million people to the already staggering number of 6 million Palestinian refugees in the world.”

Census data show that about 170,000 Palestinians are already living in the United States. According to the State Department, the U.S. took in 25,465 refugees from all over the world in 2022, a 123 percent increase from 2021. 

“In FY 2023, the United States expects to resettle up to 125,000 refugees,” the department’s website states.

Rep. Bowman, a member of the far-left “Squad” in the House, joined 12 other Democrats in being the only representatives not co-sponsoring the bipartisan resolution to provide more military aid to Israel and enforce sanctions on Iran for funding Hamas.

Republican lawmakers have already begun to speak out against the idea of resettling Palestinian refugees in the United States.

“The U.S. is the most generous nation in the world, but we are in no position to accept additional refugees, especially from a region with as high a risk of terrorism, given our nation’s inability to secure our own border or vet those who are already here,” Florida Sen. Marco Rubio said. 

Fellow Floridian Sen. Rick Scott (R) argued that “the entire focus of the United States right now should be on rescuing American hostages, and making sure that Israel has every resource needed to defeat Iran-backed Hamas and defend its homeland.”

Also speaking with the Post, Arkansas Sen. Tom Cotton (R) said, “Iran should take responsibility for any Palestinian refugees caused by its proxy … war with Israel.”

According to Cotton, Iran is “responsible for the death and destruction” and therefore “should be responsible for refugees as well.”

The White House has continued to decline to take a stance on accepting refugees from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. A spokesperson said, “We continue to provide support to Palestinian refugees through the U.N.”

“The United States also has a worldwide refugee resettlement program in partnership with The UN Refugee Agency,” the administration added.


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