Press Releases

#BringThemHome: CAIR Calls on State Department to Bring Home Americans and Legal Permanent Residents Stranded in Yemen without Flights Due to the COVID-19 Crisis

  • 433 Yemeni Americans and LPRs (legal permanent residents) have contacted CAIR and CAIR Chapters nationwide because they are stranded in Yemen without flights due to the COVID-19 crisis.
  • The State Department is arranging for two flights on June 28 and July 1, departing from Aden, Yemen to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to Washington-Dulles International Airport.
  • Many passports and travel documents of stranded Americans expired during the COVID-19 lockdown in Yemen and do not currently qualify under State Department ticketing guidelines to return home.
  • CAIR is calling on the U.S. government to immediately assist those Americans and LPRs stranded in Yemen without travel documents to ensure their safe return.
  • CAIR is urging all Americans and LPRs stranded in Yemen to email civilrights@cair.com or fill out a report from at www.cair.com/report  

(WASHINGTON, D.C. 6/19/2020) – The Council on American-Islamic Relations today called on the U.S. State Department to immediately seek the quickest, safest, and most efficient way to bring home and repatriate the more than 400 American citizens and legal permanent residents (LPR) who are currently stranded in Yemen without flights due to the COVID-19 global health crisis.

While CAIR welcomes the breaking news that the State Department has scheduled two flights on June 28 and July 1, departing from Aden, Yemen to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia to Washington-Dulles International Airport – a number of CAIR’s clients will be unable to board those flights because their passports or travel documents have expired while stranded in Yemen.

In one case, a premature American newborn may not be able to travel because the baby does not have a passport and the U.S. has no consular presence in Yemen to assist potential travelers with expired passports or visas.

CAIR is calling on the U.S. Government to #BringThemHome, all Yemeni Americans and LPRs stranded, and provide immediate assistance or waivers to those with expired or missing travel documents who can prove they are U.S. citizens or LPRs.

IMPORTANT ALERT: CAIR is also urging all Americans and LPRs stranded in Yemen who are seeking assistance to email civilrights@cair.com or fill out a report from at http://www.cair.com/report/

HOW COVID-19 STRANDED AMERICANS, LPRs IN YEMEN

While the country of Yemen is currently engaged in a long-standing war that has resulted in an unprecedented humanitarian crisis and famine, the COVID-19 global pandemic has only exacerbated the crisis in Yemen.

Many of the more than 400 American citizens and LPRs stranded in Yemen had intended on traveling to that country for a brief period of time and were scheduled to return to the U.S. at the end of March 2020.

Unfortunately, despite their previously booked travel arrangements, the airports in Yemen were closed prior to their return date leaving them stranded without adequate resources to provide for their continued stay, and leaving them at grave risk of exposure to COVID-19 as the health sector is collapsing under the crush of the war, famine and the Chikungunya virus.

STORIES OF HARDSHIP AMERICANS, LPRs ARE ENDURING IN YEMEN

  • A mother and her children are currently stranded in Sanaa, Yemen. She had purchased tickets and was scheduled to fly home with her children on the exact day that the Sanaa airport was shut down. June 17, there was extensive gunfire and rocket fire in the neighborhood where the family is currently staying. Gun and rocket fire petrified the pregnant mother and induced premature labor. As a result, the mother prematurely gave birth to a son that evening — her third child. The mother is out of the hospital recovering and she and her entire family are terrified of the situation in Yemen. The mother’s family is worried about her and the newborn’s health and safety.  She and her family in New York have contacted all U.S. embassies in neighboring countries but have not received any assistance.
  • Another client is an American citizen who is pregnant with Monochorionic-Monoamniotic twins (“MCMA twins”). MCMA twins refers to a pregnancy in which the twin fetuses share a single amniotic sac and a single placenta. It is very rare and occurs in only 1% of twin pregnancies. MCMA pregnancies are considered very high risk. MCMA twins face a high risk of death, particularly during the third trimester. Infant and maternal death rates in Yemen are high. Given the client’s high-risk pregnancy, she is scheduled to deliver her children in America via C-Section surgery in August. Failure to secure this expectant mother’s return to her home in New York, will exponentially increase the risk of an already high-risk pregnancy. Given the various unexpected emergencies that can occur in MCMA pregnancies, it is imperative that she returns to America without delay.
  • A husband and wife in their sixties both suffer from diabetes and high blood pressure and are quickly running out of medicine after their return flight in late March was cancelled.
  • CAIR also has several clients with passports or other travel documents that expired due to being stranded and are unable to renew their documents. They need assistance from the Embassy in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, but have no way to physically travel to the embassy without being admitted to a flight.

STATE DEPARTMENT REPATRIATION FLIGHTS FROM YEMEN: JUNE 28 & JULY 1

According to the U.S. State Department, it has arranged with Yemeni and Saudi authorities to offer limited repatriation flights from Yemen through Saudi Arabia to the United States during the period that regular commercial service is suspended to help contain the COVID-19 virus.    

On June 28 and July 1, flights will depart Aden (ADE) at 6 AM and arrive in Jeddah at 8 AM local time.  Corresponding Saudia flights (number SV 35) will depart Jeddah (JED) at 12:30 PM and arrive at Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD) at 6:50 PM the same day.   

There are no additional flights scheduled at this time and no indication when regular commercial air service will be restored. The June 28 and July 1 flights are available to U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents (LPRs) of the United States, as well as immediate family members with valid U.S. visas. All travelers must have valid passports to purchase tickets. U.S. citizens and LPRs who want to return to the United States should consider taking one of these flights or be prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite time period.

All travelers must have valid travel documents to purchase tickets. The U.S. Government has no consular presence in Yemen and cannot assist potential travelers with expired passports or visas.

Travelers will only be allowed to transit through Jeddah; they will not be admitted to Saudi Arabia. Travel requires booking both legs in advance.

Health screenings will be conducted prior to embarkation.  Anyone with flu-like symptoms or a fever will not be allowed to board a flight.

IMPORTANT REMINDER: CAIR is urging all Americans and LPRs stranded in Yemen who are seeking assistance to email civilrights@cair.com or fill out a report from at http://www.cair.com/report/

ABOUT CAIR

CAIR’s mission is to protect civil rights, enhance understanding of Islam, promote justice, and empower American Muslims.

La misión de CAIR es proteger las libertades civiles, mejorar la comprensión del Islam, promover la justicia, y empoderar a los musulmanes en los Estados Unidos.

END

CONTACT: CAIR Government Affairs Department Director Robert S. McCaw, 202-742-6448, rmccaw@cair.com; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, ihooper@cair.com; CAIR Communications Coordinator Ayan Ajeen, aAjeen@cair.com

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