March 20, 2020

Harris to Pompeo: Californians are Stranded Abroad, Help Them Get Home

WASHINGTON, D.C.  U.S. Senator Kamala D. Harris (D-CA) on Friday sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urging him to develop a plan to ensure the expeditious return of all Californians and Americans stuck abroad due to travel restrictions in various countries related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

“In the last week, my office has made inquiries with the U.S. State Department on behalf of more than 50 individuals and families from California stuck in countries such as Honduras, Peru, El Salvador, Argentina, Morocco, Algeria, and Ecuador because the countries they are in, or travelling through, have recently implemented travel restrictions,” wrote Harris. “Additionally, many of these travelers have also had difficulty contacting U.S. embassies—further adding to anxiety and confusion.”

Harris continued, “As travel restrictions increase and air travel continues to be reduced, the Department must do all that it can to communicate with and provide the necessary assistance to ensure their safe return. I understand that a Repatriation Task Force has been created for this purpose. With the number of cases of COVID-19 growing exponentially both domestically and abroad, I urge you to empower this task force with the staff and resources needed to help get our fellow Americans home as soon as possible.”

A full copy of the letter can be found here and below.

March 20, 2020 

The Honorable Mike Pompeo

Secretary of State

U.S. Department of State

2201 C Street N.W.

Washington, D.C. 20520

 

Dear Secretary Pompeo:

I write to express my great concern for Californians and other Americans currently stranded overseas due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting travel restrictions. Now that the Department has issued a worldwide Level 4 travel, it is critical that you develop a plan to ensure the safe, expeditious, and healthy return of all those who permanently reside in the United States.

In the last week, my office has made inquiries with the U.S. State Department on behalf of more than 50 individuals and families from California stuck in countries such as Honduras, Peru, El Salvador, Argentina, Morocco, Algeria, and Ecuador because the countries they are in, or travelling through, have recently implemented travel restrictions. Additionally, many of these travelers have also had difficulty contacting U.S. embassies—further adding to anxiety and confusion. As travel restrictions increase and air travel continues to be reduced, the Department must do all that it can to communicate with and provide the necessary assistance to ensure their safe return. 

I understand that a Repatriation Task Force has been created for this purpose. With the number of cases of COVID-19 growing exponentially both domestically and abroad, I urge you to empower this task force with the staff and resources needed to help get our fellow Americans home as soon as possible. 

Thank you for your prompt attention to this urgent matter.

Sincerely, 

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