Washington—Representative Eliot L. Engel, Chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, today led a bipartisan group of 122 House members in urging President Trump to secure the release of detained American journalist Austin Tice. The members joined over fifty Senators in a letter to the President demanding Administration action to facilitate Tice’s release from Syria.
“Congress remains united in our commitment to supporting any and all constructive efforts to bring Austin home to his family. We urge you to make Austin’s immediate and safe return a priority,” the group wrote.
The list of signers to the letter can be found here.
Full text of the letter can be found here and below.
Dear President Trump:
It has now been more than seven years since Austin Tice, a veteran Marine Corps Captain who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, was detained at a checkpoint near Damascus, Syria while working in the country as a freelance journalist. This talented young man is an Eagle Scout who began college at the University of Houston at the age of 16, received his undergraduate degree from Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service, proudly served his country as a Marine, and was about to begin his final year at Georgetown University Law Center. At the time of his capture, Austin was preparing to return home after having spent the summer covering the suffering of the Syrian people as a freelance reporter. Austin’s lifelong dedication to serving others represents the best of our country’s ideals and values.
The Tice family and your own administration are confident that Austin is alive. We strongly urge that you continue to use the full weight of your national security team — including dispatching the Special Envoy for Hostage Affairs — to secure his release. Seven years is simply too long for Austin to be separated from his loved ones.
The recent releases of American Sam Goodwin and Canadian Kristian Baxter from their captivity in Syria are encouraging developments. These events lead us to believe that there is a strong prospect of finally securing Austin’s safe return.
Congress remains united in our commitment to supporting any and all constructive efforts to bring Austin home to his family. We urge you to make Austin’s immediate and safe return a priority.