The Corner

Ban Travel from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea—Now

Why is anyone from Liberia, Sierra Leone, or Guinea — the source of the Ebola outbreak — being permitted to enter the United States?

The Liberian Ebola victim in Dallas seems to have used a visitor visa to travel here “to visit family members.” The idea that we allow people from those countries to board planes for the U.S. so long as they don’t have a fever is absurd. There are more than 13,000 people from those three countries with visas to enter the U.S. Here’s a list of African countries with travel restrictions on Ebola-affected countries — what’s our problem?

I’ll tell you our problem: Much of our political class is simply uncomfortable with the idea that border and immigration controls should be used vigorously and unapologetically to protect Americans. You can hear the objections now: It would be xenophobic, it might stigmatize West Africans, those countries will object to our State Department that they’re being discriminated against.

The Dallas paper headlined a story today “Ebola’s arrival in U.S. was inevitable, experts say,” which included this bit:

Dr. Edward Goodman, hospital epidemiologist at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, said he was not surprised that the Ebola virus came to his doorstep, given the number of cases in Africa.

There is “plenty of opportunity for people to fly over and come to any part of the United States,” he told reporters Tuesday.

Only if we allow it.

An unlikely exception on the left is Representative Alan Grayson, who wrote Secretary of State John Kerry in July demanding a travel ban on the three West African countries, and any other country that reports a case of Ebola, until 90 days have passed without a new case of the disease. If Grayson’s advice had been heeded, whoever’s paying to care for U.S. Ebola Patient Zero (the missionaries don’t really count) — identified by the AP as Thomas Eric Duncan — wouldn’t have been forced to do so. More important, anyone who might have gotten infected by him, God forbid, wouldn’t have been.

The Ebola incident is simply part of a broader trend of cosmopolitan hostility to the idea of national borders as a security tool. Why has the government permitted the number of Saudi immigrants in the U.S. to double in just three years? Why is this administration cutting back on prosecutions of new border-infiltrators? Why are we going to “greatly expand resettlement for Syrian refugees“? Why are our consular officers barred from denying a visa to Islamist loons based on their “beliefs, statements, or associations” so long as they haven’t killed anyone yet? Why are we still issuing visas to people in countries that won’t take their own criminals back?

This is why “comprehensive immigration reform” hasn’t passed and won’t pass — no one trusts the enforcement promises of people who don’t believe in the sovereignty of America’s borders.

Mark Krikorian, a nationally recognized expert on immigration issues, has served as Executive Director of the Center for Immigration Studies (CIS) since 1995.

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