More than a dozen journalists with the US government´s premier international broadcaster may soon be forced to leave the United States as their visas expire with no action from the agency´s new leadership. Some 16 Voice of America journalists will have to return to their native countries in the coming weeks unless the government agrees to either renew their visas or extend grace periods for them to depart, according to congressional aides. Several of the journalists, from China and Indonesia notably, could face difficulties at home because of their work for VOA, the aides said. Rep. Eliot Engel, the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, complained Friday that the US Agency for Global Media, which oversees VOA and its sister outlets, had ignored congressional requests for an explanation as to why the usually routine visa renewals had not been processed. In addition, he said not even the affected journalists had been given details of their status. There are roughly 80 foreign VOA employees in the United States, but the documents of the 16 are among the first to come up for renewal, according to congressional aides who were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity. Engel, D-N.Y., also appealed to the departments of State and Homeland Security to extend grace periods for those journalists whose visas have already expired so they are not forced to leave without having the time to make adequate arrangements.