DearColleague.us

Letter

Debbie Dingell

From the office of:

Debbie Dingell

Sending Office: Honorable Debbie Dingell
Sent By:
Timothy.Huebner@mail.house.gov

Dear Colleague:

You are invited to cosponsor H.R. 5895, the Leave No Americans Behind Act of 2020, that would end the practice of the State Department charging Americans for evacuations from foreign countries. These fees have been charged to thousands of Americans who have
been evacuated from around the world as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Current Department of State policy 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 in a typical year, with less than $1 million collected from FY2015 – FY2018.

The Leave No Americans Behind Act of 2020 would 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.

Sincerely,

 

Debbie Dingell                                                                       James P. McGovern

Member of Congress                                                              Member of Congress

Related Legislative Issues

Selected legislative information: Foreign Affairs, Government

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