AOC’s Call For Palestinian Resettlement Sparks Controversy

In a recent interview on CNN, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) ignited a debate by suggesting that Americans should be open to the idea of resettling Palestinians in their communities. This statement has stirred controversy, especially among conservatives who have raised concerns about the potential implications of such a move.

When asked whether Arab countries in the Middle East should take in Palestinians instead of the United States, Ocasio-Cortez expressed her willingness to support Arab nations in hosting Palestinian refugees. However, she also emphasized that the United States should not shy away from its historic role in accepting refugees and helping them rebuild their lives within its borders.

In her own words: “I think there’s something to be said about the region’s partners being able to support and step up for Palestinians. However, that does not abdicate the United States from our historic role that we’ve played in the world of accepting refugees and allowing people to restart their lives here.”

This proposal, which comes after Rep. Jamaal Bowman (D-NY) also voiced support for the idea, has garnered attention and criticism, particularly from Republican lawmakers. 

While the majority of President Joe Biden’s administration and other Democrats have remained silent on this issue, Reps. Tom Tiffany (R-WI) and Andy Ogles (R-TN) took a proactive stance by writing a letter to President Biden’s top officials. In this letter, they requested an “unequivocal public commitment” that there are no plans to resettle Palestinians in American communities. 

To reinforce their position, Tiffany and Ogles introduced the “GAZA Act,” which aims to prevent any refugee resettlement operation for Palestinians in the United States. Sen. Steve Daines (R-MN) has also introduced similar legislation in the Senate earlier this week.

It is worth considering the broader context of refugee resettlement in the United States. Over the past two decades, nearly one million refugees have been resettled in the country. This number surpasses the population of many American cities, such as Tulsa, Oklahoma, and is equivalent to the entire population of Pensacola, Florida, annually.

The criticism of the suggestions for the resettlement of Palestinians in the U.S. is mostly because of the financial implications, as research indicates that refugee resettlement costs American taxpayers nearly $9 billion every five years. Within five years of admission, it is estimated that 16 percent of refugees will require housing assistance funded by taxpayers.

On average, the lifetime expenses of each refugee cost taxpayers approximately $133,000.