A group of Democrats on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee raised “serious concerns” Wednesday about Americans abroad who are struggling to return to the U.S. amid the coronavirus pandemic.
In a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, the nine Democratic senators requested the department “step up” efforts to assist the U.S. nationals in returning home after receiving reports that some Americans have been unable to book flights or get in contact with U.S. embassies.
“Providing support and assistance to Americans abroad and ensuring their safety and well-being are among the Department’s most fundamental responsibilities,” the senators wrote, citing concerns with Americans in Honduras, Morocco, Peru and Tunisia who have recently reported difficulties in obtaining support from American embassies and consulates.
Committee Ranking Member Bob Menendez of New Jersey, along with Sens. Ben Cardin of Maryland, Chris Coons of Delaware, Tom Udall of New Mexico, Chris Murphy of Connecticut, Tim Kaine of Virginia, Ed Markey of Massachusetts, Jeff Merkley of Oregon and Cory Booker of New Jersey, urged Mr. Pompeo to explain efforts being made by the department to bring the Americans home.
The letter comes amid reports that the State Department is cautioning Americans to not rely on the U.S. government to arrange travel back home.
“Americans overseas should have full confidence that the State Department will support them when abroad and facilitate their efforts to return to the United States if they are seeking to evacuate from areas affected by COVID-19,” the senators added. “We recognize these are extraordinary times for the nation and the world. Yet this crisis calls for creative measures.”