RELEASE: Rep. Cloud Joins Bipartisan Effort to Secure Release and Policy Changes for Americans Detained in Turks and Caicos

May 22, 2024

Washington, D.C. — Congressman Michael Cloud (R-TX) joined several of his colleagues on a bipartisan Congressional Member Delegation trip (CODEL) to Turks and Caicos to advocate for American citizens being unjustly detained after minor security incidents. The delegation aimed to push for policy changes to prevent such detentions in the future, and to expedite the return of the Americans currently detained on the island.

The delegation sought a meeting with Turks and Caicos officials to advocate for the four American citizens detained on the islands. Each of these Americans were cooperative, well intentioned, and had no desire to break any laws, yet they are facing as many as twelve years in prison over unknowingly having ammunition in their luggage – even as little as one or two bullets that inadvertently slipped behind the lining of a suitcase, for example. This meeting is part of ongoing diplomatic efforts to work with the

Turks and Caicos government for a speedy resolution. Currently, an American is detained about every three weeks under the strict laws in Turks and Caicos – so a change in policy would go a long way in preventing such instances in the future. While no immediate agreement was reached, discussions are ongoing.

In addition to Rep. Cloud, the delegation included Senator Markwayne Mullin (R-OK), Senator John Fetterman (D-PA), Rep. Guy Reschenthaler (R-PA), Rep. Bob Good (R-VA), and Rep. Josh Brecheen (R-OK).

Rep. Cloud released the following statement:

“Earlier this week, I joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers in meeting with Turks and Caicos government officials to discuss the policy changes needed to prevent the unjust detention of Americans and to expedite the safe return of the four American citizens currently facing up to twelve years in prison. These American tourists were arrested while returning to the U.S. from vacation for unknowingly having small amounts of ammunition in their luggage.

Turks and Caicos is a British Territory, and our goal was to engage diplomatically and find common ground to prevent future detentions and secure a swift resolution for the current cases. We remain committed to continuing our dialogue with the authorities in Turks and Caicos until this matter is resolved and our citizens are safely back home.

This week, two of the detained Americans have hearings scheduled. Following our discussions with Turks and Caicos officials, I am hopeful they will be allowed to return home safely. If our citizens are unjustly sentenced, we will work with the Department of State to consider further actions on restricting travel to the island to protect American citizens who have no intention of violating any laws.”


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