Rep. Andy Kim announced that his office helped bring home 14 New Jersyans who were stuck abroad, due to travel restrictions from the coronavirus pandemic.
New Jersey residents were stuck in Spain, Italy, Peru, Honduras, and on cruise ships, among other locations. Kim’s office sent each person county-specific information from the State Department and communicated with them frequently, sometimes on a daily basis, to help get them home.
As countries reduce or restrict travel to and from other nations, Americans abroad have found themselves trapped. Reports indicate that there are about 13,500 Americans stranded abroad who have reached out to the State Department for help since the beginning of the pandemic. Countries within the European Union, along with nearly a hundred other countries, have restricted or outright banned travel from foreigners to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.
The restrictions mean that Americans who were vacationing, volunteering and temporarily living abroad face extra challenges to get back home.
“I’m proud of the work my team has done to help bring our neighbors stuck abroad home,” Kim said in a statement. “These are uncertain times, and New Jerseyans abroad should be able to come back home to be safe with their families. This is an ongoing effort, and we’re continuing to work with a number of people across the world to bring them back to our state. I would encourage anyone from Burlington and Ocean Counties stuck abroad at this moment to contact my office, and we will do whatever we can to help.”
According to the State Department, as of April 1 a total of 31,230 Americans have been repatriated back home to the states from 72 countries.