The #BringThemHome Campaign is urging all Americans to contact Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and their members of Congress to urge the U.S. Government to bring home the some 300 American citizens and LPRs (Legal Permanent Residents) who have been stranded in Yemen with expired passports and travel documents due to the previous COVID-19 lockdown in that country.
The #BringThemHome Campaign's click-and-send action alert is directing Americans to urge the U.S. State Department to:
- Adopt the innovative and expedited process of handling consular requests in Yemen though secured online video conferencing that can be verified secondarily through electric correspondence, cross-checking of U.S. government databases, and in-person validation by U.S. consular staff once an American traveler arrives at a point of transfer in a country where the U.S. maintains an active embassy or consulate.
- Immediately provide financial assistance to those individuals in the form of an evacuation promissory note that can be paid back in full overtime.
TAKE ACTION: URGE THE U.S. GOVERNMENT TO BRING AMERICANS STRANDED IN YEMEN HOME
On March 14, 2020, the government of Yemen suspended a majority of international flights as part of its effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s borders to Yemen have remained closed since April. While outgoing flights from Sana'a’s international airport resumed on August 1, having already been stranded in Yemen for nearly five months, some 300 Americans’ and LPRs' travel documents, including passports and green cards, have expired.
Without valid U.S. travel documentation these Americans are unable to board flights leaving Yemen if and when they resume. As per our communications with the Yemen Desk staff, the State Department is advising Americans with expired U.S. travel documents that possess a Yemeni passport or secondary travel document to simply wait until borders reopen where they can then go to a U.S. Embassy to renew their passports
Given the uncertainty in the region due to the ongoing conflict and the uptick in COVID-19 outbreaks worldwide leading to renewed lock-downs, Americans in Yemen face the real risk of elevated exposure to the virus. Additionally, not all U.S. citizens with expired U.S. travel documents are dual citizens of other nations. There are reports that several Americans while traveling abroad in Yemen have given birth and are unable to easily procure travel documents for their newborn children.
For these Americans, they are stranded in Yemen through no fault of their own and they lack information as to when the embassy in Sana’a may reopen. The current position of the State Department seems to be that it will not extend American citizens and LPRs any special accommodations to renew their travel documents despite this sensitive security situation. Yet, that is exactly what it should be doing.
Moreover,these Americans have been stranded in Yemen for such a prolonged period of time that many have reported to our organizations they exhausted their personal financial resources and unable to afford flights home –which can cost well over $1,800 per ticket –should they become available for purchase.
This action alert is a part of #BringThemHome campaign, being coordinated by CAIR along with its local chapters in New York, Chicago, Michigan, and California, as well as Asian Americans Advancing Justice - Asian Law Caucus, the Arab-American Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), Yemeni American Merchants Association (YAMA), Yemeni American Association of California, and Yemeni Alliance Committee.
CAIR is also urging all Americans and LPRs stranded in Yemen who are seeking assistance to email firstname.lastname@example.org or fill out a report from at http://www.cair.com/report/
CONTACT: CAIR Government Affairs Department Director Robert S. McCaw, 202-742-6448, email@example.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR Communications Coordinator Ayan Ajeen, aAjeen@cair.com