Senator Robert Singer and Assemblymen Sean Kean and Ned Thomson urged the Biden administration to bring American citizens back home and not leave them stranded in Europe after being evacuated from Israel.
"My heart goes out to the families in New Jersey and all across the United States who have been affected by the tragic events unfolding in Israel. I have an especially heavy heart for our fellow Jewish friends and neighbors in Lakewood who have loved ones in Israel," said Sen. Singer. "In the wake of this attack, many Americans were unable to evacuate due to flight cancellations and there not being enough planes to accommodate those who wished to leave. Reports that the Biden administration may force evacuees to repay the government for being evacuated from a warzone only to be left in Europe to find their own way home is deeply troubling. Those fees should be waived given the dire circumstances and no American should be left stranded in Europe. Every American who wants to come home should be brought home immediately."
A news report cited a State Department email that said Americans would need to sign an agreement to repay the government prior to being evacuated to Europe. After landing in Europe, evacuated Americans would be required to arrange their own flight home and/or lodging.
Senator Singer announced his intention to introduce a resolution urging legislators in New Jersey to stand in solidarity with Israel.
"While other nations have already begun bringing their citizens home, the Democrats in the Biden administration must move faster to bring Americans directly home to safety," said Asm. Kean. "It is beyond ridiculous that there are reports that this administration plans on charging Americans for being evacuated from an active warzone. Even more disturbing is that they are planning on leaving American citizens in Europe to find their own way home. It is the responsibility of the Biden administration to bring our citizens home when they are in danger. No one should have to pay to be saved from hostile foreign terrorists or abandoned in another foreign country."
New Jersey Congressman Chris Smith (R-4) published a press release detailing the efforts of other countries around the world to secure safe evacuations for their citizens to urge the Biden administration to begin chartering flights for Americans.
"Hearing the stories of families who currently have loved ones in Israel is heartbreaking. The United States government must move more quickly to ensure our citizens are returned home immediately," said Asm. Thomson. "It was disturbing to see the Biden administration take a back seat early on while other countries prioritized bringing their citizens home. In addition to bringing Americans directly home without charge, the Biden administration can rectify another wrong by freezing the $6 billion of Iranian assets that were recently released to the world's largest sponsor of violent extremism."