A group of seven bipartisan Congressmen have sent a letter to the State Department demanding answers over the ongoing crisis at the US Embassy in Israel, where numerous young families have found it impossible to receive an emergency passport for their newborn children which would allow them to fly to the U.S. for Pesach.
In the letter, Reps. Mike Lawler, Anthony D’Esposito, Josh Gottheimer, Dan Goldman, Pat Ryan, Marcus Molinaro, and Yvette Clark, write that many of their constituents have reached out to their offices “to share their frustration with the U.S. Citizen Services provided in Israel.”
“These Americans are having trouble making appointments, as walk-ins are unavailable and appointment times are few and far between,” the letter reads. “One particularly frequent complaint has been regarding delays related to passport and consular report of birth abroad (CRBA) applications. Despite being U.S. citizens, these Americans are waiting in some cases months in order to see basic requests fulfilled.”
The Congressmen then list a bunch of questions for the State Department to answer, specifically:
- How many pending requests are there at U.S. State Department offices in Israel? How does this compare to other countries? What, if any, measures are being taken to address this backlog of requests?
- What is the typical wait time for passport and CRBA services in Israel? How does this compare to other countries?
- How many foreign service officers work on U.S. Citizen Services in Israel, and how does this compare to other countries? With upwards of 500,000 Americans in Israel, should the State Department reassess staffing levels at the Embassy in Jerusalem and at the Consulate in Tel Aviv?
The letter is addressed to Assistant Secretary Naz Durakoglu of the State Department’s Bureau of Legislative Affairs.
Earlier on Wednesday, Senator Chuck Schumer told Agudath Israel’s Leadership Mission to Washington that he is working on resolving the issues, and Rep. Chris Smith, who represents Lakewood, sent his own letter urging officials to assist his constituents stranded in Israel.
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