Sending Office: Honorable Debbie Dingell
Current Cosponsors: Dingell, McGovern
You are invited to be an original cosponsor of legislation I intend to introduce next week, the Leave No Americans Behind Act of 2018, that would end the practice of the State Department charging Americans for evacuations from foreign countries.
Constituents contacting my office raised this issue, which is a challenge for many at times of crisis and can cause personal challenges and financial difficulty. These individuals were evacuated by the US government from the Caribbean during
the 2017 hurricane season and billed hundreds of dollars by the government for the rescue which they simply could not afford nor did they know would be charged. This was due to the Department of State policy that requires American citizens who are being evacuated
from a foreign country to sign a
promissory note obligating them to repay to the US government the equivalent price of a commercial flight from the area from which they are being evacuated. These evacuation fees typically cost hundreds of dollars, and the federal government will put a
hold on an evacuee’s passport until this amount is repaid.
Concerns about this practice resurface every time there is a major evacuation of US citizens from a foreign country, for example during the
2017 hurricane season or the
2006 Lebanon war. There is a widespread consensus that this policy of requiring Americans to pay these evacuation fees poses a real difficulty for most individuals during a traumatic time like a civil war or major natural disaster. Additionally, these fees
provide a minimal amount of revenue to the federal government, with less than $1 million collected since FY2015.
For this reason, having spoken with numerous individuals rescued in desperate situations, I am introducing the Leave No Americans Behind Act of 2018, which will eliminate the federal government’s practice of charging evacuees a fee. I invite
you to cosponsor this commonsense legislation, which will allow all Americans to evacuate from dangerous situations abroad without undertaking a major financial burden, at a minimal cost to the US taxpayer. In times of crisis, we have an obligation to assist
our fellow Americans seeking safety, and individuals facing emergencies abroad should not have to worry about being hit with a bill after their evacuation.
If you have any questions or would like to sign on as a cosponsor, please contact Timothy Huebner at Timothy.Huebner@mail.house.gov or 54071.
e-Dear Colleague version 2.0