During President Trump’s initial two years in office, he successfully recovered Americans being held as a hostage, or who were unjustly or illegally imprisoned overseas. In fact, he has made these actions one of his top priorities and ensured his administration is actively taking the steps needed to achieve his goals.
More than a dozen people have been set free, including Caitlin Coleman, who was rescued with her family, after being held as captives for approximately five years by the Taliban, as well as three UCLA basketball players, who had been detained in China.
However, Trump isn’t stopping there. According to representatives from his administrations, his efforts are still going strong and providing hope for those being held, as well as their families who are praying for a miracle to bring their loved ones home. Here are just a few of the other Americans President Trump has returned to freedom.
The Release of Joshua Holt
Joshua Holt was released from a Venezuelan prison after the Trump administration discussed his situation with the officials in the country. Holt had been held in this South American country since back in the summer of 2016. At that time, Holt had traveled to the country to meet Thamara Candelo, his future wife. However, both Holt and Candelo were jailed on what most human rights groups claimed were completely falsified charges.
The Release of Aya Hijazi
As of January 2018, the Trump administration had successfully arranged the release of 17 prisoners. However, the majority of Americans don’t remember this.
One of these individuals was Aya Hijaz, and American aid worker that was released back in April 2017 from an Egyptian prison. She had been held in the country for three years, and the Obama administration was unsuccessful in their attempts to get her released.
Freedom from North Korea
One of the most notable examples of how Trump has worked to bring American citizens home from abroad was the three freed Americans released from North Korea.
The three Americans detained, Kim Sang Duk, Kim Hak-song, and Kim Dong Chul were freed while Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State, was visiting the North Korean capital to discuss the upcoming summit Trump had planned with Kim Jon Un, the North Korean leader. At this time, another American held by North Korea was released, Otto Warmbier. However, he was in a vegetative state at the time of his release and passed away a few days after arriving back on American soil.
Freedom from Turkey
Andrew Brunson, an American pastor, was recently released from a Turkish prison thanks to President Donald Trump. Upon arrival in the Oval Office, Brunson dropped to his knee and put a hand on President Trump’s shoulder in prayer. Trump welcomed this released prisoner to the White House after being he was held in Turkey for more than two years.
Continued Efforts from the Trump Administration
In March 2019, Trump welcomed Danny Burch, an oil engineer who had been held in captivity for approximately 18 months in Yemen. During the time of his “welcome home” greeting to Burch, Trump also stated that there were a wide array of other negotiations currently happening. He could not disclose further information for fear of the negotiation failing due to it being exposed to the public.
Today, there are a number of U.S. citizens being held in various countries, including Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Iran. Most of the individuals who have been freed to date have come from the country of North Korea.
While Trump’s efforts have been impressive to date, especially when compared to former administrations, there are still 3,000 U.S. citizens imprisoned around the world. Approximately 100 of these individuals are considered hostages. What the United States knows about these individuals is mostly due to advocates, such as the former U.S. prisoner in Egypt, Mohamed Soltan, who states that he estimates there are another 15 Americans still being held in that country. There is at least one more American citizen being held on political grounds in the country of Turkey, as well as one (at least) in Saudi Arabia and approximately five in Iran.
Are Trump’s Efforts Enough?
There are many who are wondering if President Trump’s efforts are enough and why he isn’t doing more to get even more U.S. citizens released from foreign countries. However, compared to other administrations, his success has been significant and provided hope for those being held abroad, as well as their families who are still located domestically and hoping the President will have success in getting their loved ones released, as well.