Obama Authorized Funds for the Immigration of Hamas Refugees From Gaza to the US-Fiction!

President Obama Authorized Funds for the Immigration of Hamas Refugees From Gaza to the United States-Fiction! 

Summary of eRumor:

A forwarded email saying that President Obama has signed an executive order granting a $20,300,000 expenditure to allow hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees who are loyal to Hamas to immigrate to the United States.

The Truth:

According to published reports, in January, 2009, by the Associated Press, President Obama authorized an emergency contribution of $20.3 million solely for “urgent relief efforts in the Gaza Strip.”    The State Department issued no statement regarding any plans or policies for immigration of Gaza refugees out of the Middle East.  

The U.S. Emergency Refugee and Migration Assistance (ERMA) fund was set up in accordance to the  Migration and Refugee Assistance Act of 1962 where  the President of the United States  may determine  that funds be released  to aid refugees for relief and migration.   President Obama issued this determination on January 27, 2009 and contrary to some forwarded eRumors has nothing to do with HR-1388.   Click here for the Presidential Order     Click here for findings on HR-1388

The authorization was issued a day after the United Nations launched an appeal for $613 million to aid Palestine in recovery efforts.  The article said, “The money will go to U.N. agencies and the International Committee of the Red Cross,  which are distributing emergency food assistance, providing medical care and temporary shelter, creating temporary employment and restoring access to electricity and potable water.” 

There is an official release detailing the distribution of funds on the America.Gov web site.  Click for details.

This was shortly after the world focus was on Gaza when Israel launched a military operation that lasted three weeks in efforts to neutralize Hamas rocket launchers that had been targeting Southern Israel.   Many locations within the Gaza area were deemed targets by Israel including Hamas intelligence headquarters, locations of rocket-launchers, squads, and a tunnel used for smuggling weapons from outside sources.

The outcome of the Israeli operation dealt a severe blow to Hamas with an estimate of $2 billion in damages reported along with the deaths of 1,300 Palestinians including Hamas commando Mohammed Shalpokh which Israel blamed for the rocket attacks against them from northern Gaza.

It is not uncommon that a President issue such an order.  President George W. Bush determined that funds be sent to refugees in the West Bank, Gaza, and Sudan more than once during his terms in office.

updated 06/14/10