Skip to Content
Home | news | Press Releases

Press Releases

Dingell, McGovern Reintroduce Leave No Americans Behind Act of 2022

Today, Representatives Debbie Dingell (MI-12) and Jim McGovern (MA-02) reintroduced the Leave No Americans Behind Act of 2022 to end the practice of charging fees from Americans evacuating foreign countries in times of crisis. 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.
“We have an obligation to assist our fellow Americans seeking safety in times of crisis, and evacuees facing emergencies abroad should not have to worry about being hit with a bill,” said Dingell. “These fees place a real financial burden on people during an already traumatic time, while providing only a nominal amount of revenue. The government shouldn’t be making a quick buck at the expense of Americans in distress. ”
“Our government’s top job ought to be ensuring the safety of the American people at home and abroad,” said McGovern. “It’s outrageous and unacceptable that the evacuation of Americans during a crisis comes with strings attached. I’m proud to partner with Representative Dingell to make sure that Americans in danger can focus on getting to safety—not on whether they can afford to pay for an unexpected and unplanned emergency evacuation.”
Current State Department 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.
Dingell and McGovern first introduced the Leave No Americans Behind Act in 2018. 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. 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.
Back to top