Trump WH Forcing Puerto Rico Evacuees To Pay For Airfare: Report
According to several news reports, the Trump administration is forcing evacuees from Puerto Rico and Dominica to sign promissory notes ensuring full repayment for transportation costs and is keeping evacuees’ passports as collateral.
Citing the State Department’s website, MarketWatch reported on Thursday that the administration is using a discretionary policy to force evacuees to pay transportation costs, which are based on “the price of the last commercial one-way, full-fare (not discounted) economy ticket prior to the crisis.”
The policy applies to all evacuees who boarded U.S. government aircraft or other vehicles to evacuate, according to the State Department’s website. Evacuees’ passports will be restricted until payment is received.
“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,” the website reads.
The news comes as the Trump administration faces criticism for the pace of relief efforts in Puerto Rico. Most of the U.S. territory’s 3.4 million inhabitants are without drinking water, and electricity could be down on the island for up to 6 months.
On Tuesday, however, Trump said that his administration will receive high marks for Hurricane Maria relief efforts.