Warner pushes Secretary of State to help Americans stranded abroad
U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va., is pushing the State Department to provide guidance and assistance to Americans stuck abroad after heightened travel restrictions, lockdowns, and border closures across the globe to curb the spread of coronavirus have left U.S. citizens stranded in foreign countries indefinitely.
“I have heard from an alarming number of Virginians in the past few days who are abroad and unable to return to the United States due to restrictions on movement, closed borders, nationwide lockdowns, and canceled flights. Stranded in Peru, Honduras, Morocco, China, Guatemala and other countries, these Americans are desperately trying to navigate these difficult and rapidly evolving circumstances to return to their homes and their families,” Sen. Warner wrote in a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
The State Department is responsible for the safety and security of Americans overseas, which includes providing information to help U.S. citizens navigate rapidly shifting travel restrictions in a world wide effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
“I have been in touch with State Department personnel, both here and abroad, as well as with foreign embassies based in the United States, and I commend the round-the-clock work by so many to help in this difficult time. But these Americans need greater support by the State Department. I urge you to implement a response effort that is comprehensive, nimble, and timely and gets these Americans home as soon as possible,” Sen. Warner wrote in the letter.
In his letter to Secretary Pompeo, Sen. Warner asked the agency to provide a prompt response on the following questions:
- What outreach are the State Department and embassies conducting to Americans about the current and potential near-term restrictions in their particular country?
- What guidance are you providing Americans who are actively attempting to return to the United States?
- What guidance and support are you providing to travelers who are facing an impending travel restriction or border closure affecting their ability to leave the country to return home?
- What support are you providing to Americans who find themselves already locked down in a country, unable to return home?
- What efforts are underway, or are you considering, in terms of emergency repatriation flights and/or chartered options?