skip to Main Content

President Biden Announces Deferred Enforced Departure for Palestinians

The White House has designated Palestinians for Deferred Enforced Departure (DED). The DED order blocks removal of certain Palestinians from the United States for 18 months, and instructs the Department of Homeland Security to provide employment authorization to eligible DED beneficiaries. The order also directs DHS to consider relaxing employment rules for Palestinian F-1 students. A forthcoming notice in the Federal Register will provide implementation details.

A closer look

President Biden has blocked the removal of certain Palestinians from the United States for 18 months, according to a Presidential memorandum issued last evening. President Biden stated that a grant of Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) is necessary, citing significantly deteriorated humanitarian conditions in the Palestinian territories, and primarily in Gaza.

The President has directed the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to take appropriate steps to defer the removal of Palestinians who have been present in the United States continuously since February 14, 2024. The memorandum also directs DHS to provide employment authorization to such individuals for the duration of the DED period, and to consider expanded employment eligibility for Palestinian F-1 students.

Background on DED and its related benefits

Deferred Enforced Departure (DED) is not a specific immigration status, but rather is a discretionary grant of protection that can be issued only by a president as part of their constitutional power to conduct foreign relations. It is used in very limited instances. Individuals covered by DED are not subject to removal from the United States for a certain period of time and typically may request employment authorization during the designation period. In addition to Palestinians, DED is currently available to residents of Hong Kong and Liberian nationals.

Pursuant to the presidential memorandum, certain Palestinians who were present in the United States on February 14, 2024 and remain continuously present may benefit from the DED grant.  Palestinians who return to the Palestinian territories after February 14, have committed certain crimes, or present a national security threat, among others, may not be eligible under the program.

Looking ahead

A forthcoming Federal Register notice will provide instructions on how eligible foreign nationals should apply for DED employment authorization. Palestinians who believe they are eligible for DED are encouraged to apply after the notice is issued.

Back To Top