Dear Secretary Pompeo,
We urge the Department of State to take immediate action to repatriate New Mexicans living, working, and traveling abroad and to provide these same New Mexicans with all necessary medical care while these plans are being executed.
As the ongoing COVID-19 (Coronavirus) crisis continues to evolve, our offices have been contacted by numerous New Mexican constituents around the world who are either prevented or restricted from returning home due to policies enacted by foreign governments or commercial airlines. These New Mexicans report that they are having difficulty communicating with U.S. Embassy and Consulate staff in countries around the world - from Peru, Honduras, Saudi Arabia, and Ukraine, just to name a few. When communications have been established, these constituents report that no plans are in place for the federal government to rapidly repatriate them and attend to their urgent medical needs.
Our inquiries to the Department of State to date have made clear that no plan exists to bring these citizens home safely, a situation we find unacceptable several weeks into this growing pandemic. As a letter sent to you earlier this week by Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee stated, "Americans overseas should have full confidence that the State Department will support them when abroad and facilitate their efforts to return to the United States if they are seeking to evacuate areas affected by COVID-19."
As Congress continues to develop legislation to respond to the crisis, we seek immediate clarification on the resources the Department of State will require to ensure New Mexicans are able to return home. We ask that you work in coordination with the Department of Defense, commercial airline industry partners, and state and local governments to ensure that the United States uses all resources at its disposal toward this end.
This public health emergency requires the Department of State and the federal government to undertake extraordinary steps to see that the health, safety, and wellbeing of every New Mexican is prioritized. We ask that you communicate these plans, and the requirements to execute them, as soon as possible.
Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter and we stand ready to work with you on this issue.