State Dept. Says Puerto Rico Victims Must Pay for Evacuation – As WH Insiders Jetset on Your Dime
Threat Of Passports Being Held If Puerto Rico Victims Don’t Pay Government Back
The cost of air travel by the Republican Donald Trump administration has been a rather hot topic recently. It has been revealed multiple cabinet members have been using more expensive private planes to travel, costing taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars in unnecessary costs. And if that egregiousness wasn’t bad enough, a new report is suggesting victims of the devastating hurricane in Puerto Rico are going to have to pay the government to take a flight away from the catastrophe.
Market Watch reports anyone that gets evacuated with government help through the air has to pay full price back to Washington to get off the island. If they don’t pay off the note, they don’t get their passport back. According to the report:
According to the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Consular Affairs:
- “Anyone evacuated on U.S.-government coordinated transport, including charter and military flights, must sign an Evacuee Manifest and Promissory Note (Form DS-5528) note prior to departure.”
- “The promissory note obligates an evacuated person to repay the cost of the transportation to the U.S. government.”
The cost of the “promissory loan” is based on “the price of the last commercial one-way, full-fare (not discounted) economy ticket prior to the crisis.”…
That’s not all:
- “Upon evacuation, a Department of State official must limit an evacuee’s passport. In order to obtain a new passport, an evacuee must arrange payment as agreed upon via the promissory note.”
In other words, if you want out after your entire world has been decimated, make sure to bring your wallet.
After immense pressure, Trump waived shipping restrictions to Puerto Rico according to the Jones Act today. This relief comes one day after Trump stated “a lot of shippers and … a lot of people who work in the shipping industry that don’t want the Jones Act lifted.”
This report comes on the heels of revelations cabinet members of the Donald Trump administration have been using expensive chartered flights to travel when cheaper commercial options were available. First, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price was exposed taking dozens of chartered flights since May at an estimated cost of over $300,000. He is now under investigation for the flights and Trump even gave an unclear answer when asked about possibly firing Price.
In addition to Price’s travel, EPA head Scott Pruitt was found to have taken private flights on a handful of occasions at a total cost of over $58,000.
Related: Trump’s Laughable Claim Tax Giveaway to 1% is ‘Not Good For Me, Believe Me’ is a Reprehensible Lie
The cost of travel has dogged Republican President Donald Trump from very early on in his still young administration. His weekend trips have run up a hefty bill and were even projected at one point to cost more in one year than eight years of Barack Obama’s travel. The cost of protecting Trump and his large family led to recent reports of additional strain on the Secret Service budget and its agents.
But the people of Puerto Rico obviously need a lot of help and will need every ounce of help they can get for a long time to come. Being told by their government that they will be squeezed for travel costs is not something they need now or ever. It’s clear another policy change is badly needed. The question is: will Donald Trump act or not?
His attitude toward Puerto Rico to this point does not inspire confidence.
Featured image via Joe Raedle/Getty Images.