Last week 27 Congressional lawmakers, including three Democrats, wrote a letter asking the president to direct the CDC, Department of Homeland Security, U.S. Border Patrol and other relevant agenciesto begin “more active screening of travelers from affected countries in West Africa.”
In addition, the letter urged Obama to “consider a possible quarantine for anyone who has traveled to the affected countries during the dormancy period, aside from responsible health and military personnel who have been sent there to fight the disease.” In addition, “we ask the State Department to impose a travel ban and restrict travel visas issued to citizens of the West African countries experiencing this epidemic, until such countries have defeated the epidemic. Such a ban should be instituted by suspending earlier-issued visas until further notice, halting the issuance of such visas, and denying entry to the nationals of such counties upon presentation of a passport from those countries at our ports of entry.”
The current approach isn’t working. We can’t get Americans to honor their own restrictions; why are we so certain that citizens of other countries are going to honor their restrictions? In the past two days, we’ve seen an NBC News medical correspondent break a quarantine because she wanted to go out for soup and one of the medical personnel who treated the initial case in Dallas, who also contracted Ebola, fly to Cleveland and back.
Why not reconvene the U.S. House of Representatives and pass either legislation or a “sense of the House resolution” calling for the administration to impose these new travel restrictions? Yes, members are out on the campaign trail right now, but for most, this is probably the best use of their time.
Get back to Washington, take the vote, see if the Senate does the same and see how the administration responds.
Forget your political opponent for a bit and think about this opponent.