Rep. Ted Budd Calls Out State Department for “Lack of Communication” on Stranded Americans in Afghanistan
Washington, October 6, 2021
Washington, D.C. -- Rep. Ted Budd (R-NC) has sent a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken calling out the State department for their lack of communication with congressional offices regarding stranded Americans and allies in Afghanistan.
The full text of the letter is below:
Dear Secretary Blinken,
I write to express my grave concerns regarding the lack of communication between the State Department and congressional offices regarding inquiries into the status of stranded Americans, Special Immigrant Visa holders (SIVs), SIV applicants, and P1&P2 refugees in Afghanistan. The majority of my office’s inquiries have gone unanswered for weeks. In the rare instance where a response is received, it is typically a generic response with little to no substantive information. I urge you to take concrete steps to address this breakdown in communication.
There are offices that have submitted dozens—and in some cases, hundreds—of inquiries to the State Department with little to no feedback. In many instances, my staff must recontact families who raised their concerns about relatives to receive updates on whether or not they safely evacuated Afghanistan or are still in country. It is quite frankly appalling that offices are receiving more information from family members about the status of people trapped in Afghanistan than from our own State Department.
This lack of transparency from the State Department is more than an inconvenience. It is a matter of life and death. Our country has a duty to help every American still trapped in Afghanistan. We are also committed to helping the brave Afghan nationals who put their lives on the line to serve the United States. These allies were promised protection in return for their service. Sadly, as recent events have made clear, more must be done to fulfill that promise. Each day that goes by without action is adding to the reputational harm our country has recently endured over the mismanagement of the Afghanistan withdrawal.
I urge you to open the lines of communication with all congressional offices and address my staff’s inquiries into the statuses of those whom we promised help. Our constituent services staff stand ready to assist the State Department in helping our constituents and allies. This issue cannot wait any longer.