DeSantis Opposes ‘Squad’ Demand That US Accept Palestinian Refugees

In the throes of a devastating crisis unfolding in Gaza, prominent voices across the American political spectrum have locked horns over the U.S.’s humanitarian role and security protocols. Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY), a conspicuous member of the liberal “Squad,” insists that America should extend its arms to embrace some of the anticipated 1 million Palestinian refugees. Conversely, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) presents a stark counterargument, urging a path steeped in caution and an alternate solution.

“Fifty percent of the population in Gaza are children,” Bowman stated to the New York Post, implying a moral obligation for the international community and the U.S. to be prepared to accept them as refugees. This starkly contrasts DeSantis, who, on an Iowa campaign stop, declared, “Also I will say, and I don’t know what Biden’s going to do, but we cannot accept people from Gaza into this country as refugees.”

Despite the bitter ideological battle, one cannot overlook the brutal numbers from the Gaza Strip. A warning from the Israeli military, urging residents to migrate south to avoid forthcoming combative operations, underlines the severity of the situation, especially with the evacuation area including a whopping 1.1 million Palestinians, approximately half of the territory’s populace.

But the divide on how the U.S. should respond is gaping and steeped in convoluted geopolitical and humanitarian layers. DeSantis, echoing the sentiments of other Republicans, advances a potent argument rooted in regional geopolitics. “None of the Arab States are willing to take any of them,” he asserted, steering the conversation toward the reluctance of geographical neighbors to absorb the refugee influx. An alternate solution is proposed here: “The Arab States should be taking them if you have refugees. You don’t fly people and import them into the United States of America.”

Yet, the harrowing figures presented by UNICEF spokeswoman Sara Al Hattab are indubitably heart-wrenching: “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.” Furthermore, as per Mariana Dahan, founder of the World Identity Network Foundation, this violent conflict may potentially add “over one million people to the already staggering number of 6 million Palestinian refugees in the world.”

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) contended, “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.”

Moreover, there’s a persistent pushback in legislative circles to deter any possible attempts to entertain Bowman’s call. Reps. Tom Tiffany (R-WI) and Andy Ogles (R-TN) have introduced the “Guaranteeing Aggressors Zero Admission Act” or the “GAZA Act” to potentially bar the Biden administration from granting visas to Palestinian refugees. Tiffany argued on the X platform, formerly Twitter, “We can’t let President Biden misuse our parole and visa rules to bring unvetted Palestinians into American communities the way he did with thousands of unvetted Afghans.”