Republican Kentucky Rep. Andy Barr introduced legislation titled the RETURN Act Friday that would waive the requirement for U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents to reimburse the U.S. government for expenses related to a potential emergency evacuation if Russia invades Ukraine.
Currently, Americans are responsible for paying the government for the costs of evacuation, according to U.S. law. Typically, evacuation is to a safe location close to the crisis, not the U.S. That means U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents have to pay the government for costs such as hotels, food, clothing, medication and other necessities.
Barr argued that if illegal migrants can be released into the U.S., then citizens should be able to return to the U.S. from a war zone. He also cited Biden leaving Americans behind in Afghanistan.
“Cost should not be a barrier for Americans fleeing Ukraine if a Russian invasion occurs. Congress must act now to ensure President Biden doesn’t leave Americans behind enemy lines for the second time in less than two years,” Barr insisted.
Barr also pointed out a provision in the bill that would waive the COVID-19 test requirement for citizens and residents to reenter the U.S.
“Furthermore, my proposal waives the requirement for a negative COVID-19 test to be presented for re-entry into the United States,” he added. “If undocumented immigrants can be released into American communities without COVID-19 testing, U.S. citizens should be able to return to their country from a war zone without one too.”
President Biden has maintained that he believes Russia will invade Ukraine and ended an infrastructure speech Thursday in Ohio by saying he had to go deal with a “little thing going on in Europe.”