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Durbin requests special status for Lebanese stuck in U.S.

By Matt Sepic, KWMU

St. Louis – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin wants the Department of Homeland Security to grant temporary protected status to Lebanese nationals stuck in the United States because of Israel's war with Hezbollah.

The Illinois Democrat was in St. Louis Monday to meet with Lebanese-Americans.

Durbin said temporary protected status would allow Lebanese visiting the United States to stay until it's safe for them to return to Lebanon.

"Right now, if they have extended beyond their visa, they are technically out of compliance," Durbin said. "They are caught in the middle through no fault of their own. A war broke out while they were here, so we're trying to resolve that in a humane and compassionate way."

The Senator said he'd like President Bush to issue an executive order allowing Lebanese citizens to remain in the U.S. for at least a year.

Durbin said if that does not happen, he'll push for legislation to that effect in the Senate.

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