Fact Check

Palestinian Resettlement

President Obama issued an order 'allowing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to resettle in the United States'?

Published Feb 17, 2009


Claim:   President Obama issued an order providing funds to "allow hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to resettle in the United States."


Example:   [Collected via e-mail, February 2009]

President Barack Obama has signed an executive order presidential determination allowing hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to resettle in the United States. Sure, what can go wrong when we allow hundreds of thousands of people who have been, as Mark Steyn memorably described,

"marinated" in a "sick death cult," who voted for Hamas, and 55% of whom support suicide bombings live here and at the American taxpayers' expense:

By executive order, President Barack Obama has ordered the expenditure of $20.3 million in migration assistance to the Palestinian refugees and conflict victims in Gaza.

The "presidential determination" which allows hundreds of thousands of Palestinians with ties to Hamas to resettle in the United States was signed on January 27 and appeared in the Federal Register on February 4. President Obama's decision, according to the Register, was necessitated by "the urgent refugee and migration needs" of the "victims."

Few on Capitol Hill took note that the order provides a free ticket replete with housing and food allowances to individuals who have displayed their overwhelming support of the Islamic Resistance Movement (Hamas) in the parliamentary election of January 2006.


Variations:   A later version of this piece opened with a reference to HR 1388 (also known as the Serve America Act or GIVE), a piece of legislation which had nothing to do with providing aid to persons in the Gaza Strip.

Origins:   In late January 2009, the United Nations issued an appeal for $613 million to aid persons (including non-combatant civilians) affected by the recent conflict in the Gaza Strip between Israel and Hamas militants:

The appeal will cover requirements of the UN and other aid agencies for the next six to nine months and cover critical areas such as food, water, sanitation, health care and shelter, as well as support basic services, such as education.

The funds will also help to remove the debris of war, including unexploded ordnance, finance emergency repairs for basic infrastructure, and provide psychological help for the victims. An appeal for longer-term needs will be launched later.

"With the help of this $613 million appeal, the United Nations and other aid agencies can jump into action to help the 1.4 million civilians in the Gaza Strip to recover," Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told a news conference on the situation in Gaza, speaking from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

Also in late January 2009, President Obama issued Presidential Determination No. 2009-15 to provide emergency funds for "Unexpected Urgent Refugee and Migration Needs Related to Gaza":

By the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, including section 2(c)(1) of the Migration and Refugee Assistance Act of 1962, I hereby determine that it is important to the national interest to furnish assistance under the Act in an amount not to exceed $20.3 million from the United States Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance Fund for the purpose of meeting unexpected and urgent refugee and migration needs, including by contributions to international, governmental, and nongovernmental organizations and payment of administrative expenses of Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration of the Department of State, related to humanitarian needs of Palestinian refugees and conflict victims in Gaza.

This order simply authorized a contribution of up to $20.3 million from the U.S. Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance (ERMA) Fund to meet urgent "humanitarian needs of Palestinian refugees and conflict victims in Gaza." It did not, as claimed above, approve or authorize any Palestinians or Gazans — much less "hundreds of thousands of Palestinians with ties to Hamas" — to migrate to, or resettle in, the United States.

According to the U.S. Department of State, the funds are to be distributed as follows:

Of the $20.3 million in new ERMA funds, $13.5 million will go to the U.N. Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), $6 million to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and $800,000 to the U.N. Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). These organizations are distributing emergency food assistance, providing medical assistance and temporary shelter, creating temporary employment, and restoring access to electricity and potable water to the people of Gaza.

In May 2007, President George W. Bush issued a similar Presidential Determination authorizing the expenditure of $29.5 million for "humanitarian needs resulting from conflicts in Somalia, Sudan, and Chad, and breaks in the food pipeline for refugees in Africa, and in the West Bank and Gaza."

Last updated:   19 May 2009


    Klein, Aaron.   "Obama Didn't OK Palestinian Migration to U.S."

    WorldNetDaily.   15 February 2009.

    Lee, Matthew.   "US Puts Up $20 Million for Gaza Relief."

    Associated Press.   30 January 2009.

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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