U.S. Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) is calling for immediate action to get the dozens of Iowans—and many more other Americans—stranded in Peru and elsewhere abroad home as soon as possible. Today, Senator Ernst sent a letter to State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo urging him to act quickly to ensure the health and safety of these Americans.
In her letter, Senator Ernst writes: “As the global situation continues to change, it becomes increasingly important to take immediate action to return American citizens to the United States. […] As you can imagine, in these situations, time is of the essence and we must act quickly to ensure the health and safety of these Americans.”
In the last few days, Ernst’s office has heard directly from Iowans who are currently in this situation—in Peru and elsewhere. Her staff is in direct contact with officials at the State Department and are working on solutions and supporting the Administration in its efforts to find ways to get these people home.
Click here for a PDF of the letter.
Full text of the letter:
Dear Secretary Pompeo:
As COVID-19 becomes more and more of a global threat, nations around the world are taking actions to prevent the spread of the virus. While I understand this is a rapidly evolving crisis, I write to you to express my concern with American citizens, specifically Iowans, being stranded in foreign nations, unable to return home.
My office has been speaking with constituents who have family and friends unable to return home from areas affected by COVID-19. There are concerns not only about a timeline for when their loved one will return, but about where they will continue staying while in the affected country due to hotel closures, and general availability of food, water, supplies, and in some cases medical supplies.
As the global situation continues to change, it becomes increasingly important to take immediate action to return American citizens to the United States. It is my understanding that the Department of State is working to find ways to help citizens stranded abroad return home including the use of chartered aircraft, or using an existing aircraft owned or operated by the federal government and developing ways to ensure folks are receiving timely updates and communications. As you can imagine, in these situations, time is of the essence and we must act quickly to ensure the health and safety of these Americans.
Thank you for all you and your staff have been doing to assist American citizens across the globe. It is the responsibility of the United States to protect and assist its citizens. I encourage you to give this matter your prompt and strong consideration.