• Obama administration working hard to ensure Ebola spreads in U.S.
By Dave Gahary —
Since the World Health Organization (WHO) reported a major Ebola outbreak in the West African nation of Guinea in March of this year, it seems that the Obama administration is doing everything in its power to make sure the virus spreads across America. A series of blunders and shocking policy moves highlight how the federal government is allowing immigration from the affected African countries to trump the nation’s public health, even to the point of risking a spread of the virus across the country. Most shocking is the fact that even while you are reading this newspaper, around 100 to 150 Africans from the Ebola region are entering the United States each day, testified Thomas R. Frieden (01:56:54) the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), to Congress.
Ebola, or Ebola virus disease (EVD), is an often-fatal virus acquired by contact with blood or other body fluids of an infected animal or human. While it is still unclear how EVD spreads from animals to humans, transmission in the wild is thought to occur when infected fruit bats drop partially eaten fruit to the ground and gorillas and other mammals feed on it and are then eaten by humans. The virus has an incubation period of between two and 21 days and cannot be immediately diagnosed.
Ironically—or purposefully—when the virus began to rage out of control this past August, a week after WHO “declared the epidemic to be an international public health emergency,” the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) on August 15 announced new immigration relief measures for immigrants from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone currently in the U.S., as well as granting eligibility to a number of immigration benefits. These moves make it easier for relatives residing in these African nations to apply for visas to come to America.
EVD came to our shores via 42-year-old Liberian Thomas Eric Duncan, who passed away at a Dallas, Texas hospital on October 8, but not before infected two nurses there. According to Jessica M. Vaughan, director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies, if the Obama administration was doing its job, Duncan would have never gotten a visa.
A law already on the books, the Immigration and Nationality Act of 1952, states that any alien or legal immigrant or visitor who is determined to have a communicable disease of public health significance is considered to be inadmissible.
“They have broad authority to bar any non-citizen from entering the country,” Ms. Vaughan said. “If they had stepped in earlier with a more robust prevention plan, this case from Dallas would not have happened.”
Ebola & Political Correctness
• Obama places possible votes from immigrants above the health of U.S. public
• Third-world countries now screening Americans for signs of the Ebola virus
By Dave Gahary
In light of the fact that the United States has capacity for only 11 Ebola patients at specialized hospitals across the country, and much less developed countries have already banned visitors from the Ebola-hit West African nations, recent immigration policy moves by the Obama administration have many Americans shaking their heads in disbelief.
Incredibly, even lowly “Rwanda has introduced mandatory daily health screening for visitors from the U.S. and Spain in an effort to prevent the spread of the virus to the African nation from the Western states recently affected by the first cases of Ebola.”
Guyana, Trinidad, Jamaica and Belize have imposed travel bans on the affected nations. Belize has gone as far as restricting entry to travelers from not just the three countries experiencing the outbreak, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, but to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Nigeria as well.
In fact, this latest series of missteps emanating from the White House over the Ebola virus has sapped public approval for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), whose primary purpose is to stop the spread of diseases in the U.S. A new CBS News poll found that just 37% of Americans polled thought the CDC was doing a good job, down from 60% just last year.
While the White House continues to refuse to institute travel restrictions on the West African countries in the grips of the Ebola outbreak, the number of visas issued to Liberians has soared to about 3,500 last year alone. Another 10,000 issued to citizens of Guinea and Sierra Leone indicates that the Obama administration is fast-tracking visa applications in U.S. embassies in the above-mentioned countries.
Findings published October 20 in The Lancet revealed that “up to three Ebola-infected people could embark on overseas flights every month from the three most-affected African countries,”—Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. This is clearly at odds with an August 14, 2014 communique by the United Nation’s World Health Organization (WHO) that “air travel is low-risk for Ebola transmission.”
“On the small chance that someone on the plane is sick with Ebola, the likelihood of other passengers and crew having contact with their body fluids is even smaller. Usually when someone is sick with Ebola, they are so unwell that they cannot travel. WHO is therefore advising against travel bans to and from affected countries.”
Ebola, or Ebola virus disease (EVD), is an often-fatal virus that is officially only acquired by contact with blood or other body fluids of an infected animal or human, though some doctors fear the virus will eventually mutate so it can be spread via air. Symptoms include high fever, vomiting, diarrhea, rash and bleeding from eyes, ears, mouth and other orifices. The virus has an incubation period of between two and 21 days and cannot be immediately diagnosed.
In a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry that pointed out visas were still being issued Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, Representative Edward Royce (R-Calif.), chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, expressed “deep concern” that immigration policy moves were unnecessarily putting Americans at risk.
“It is my understanding that approximately 100 applicants for visas are visiting these three U.S. Embassies each day,” Royce wrote. “Of course, once these individuals are issued a visa by the embassy, they are free to travel to the United States. I would strongly encourage the Department of State to immediately institute a temporary suspension of consular services – particularly the issuance of visas – for non-U.S. nationals.”
Political representatives aren’t the only ones worried about how the apparent pandering to minorities will pan out.
In another recent poll stretching over three months by the Economist/YouGov Poll, “82% of those who have been following news stories about Ebola very closely would quarantine travelers from countries with Ebola outbreaks,” and “two in three would completely exclude travelers from those countries.” Those polled also increasingly disapprove of President Barack Obama’s handling of the outbreak, as well as indicating that the U.S. as a whole is not doing enough to contain the damage. Significantly, this concern is bipartisan, and as the poll shows, “for the first time, a plurality of Democrats agree that the government isn’t doing enough.”
Jessica M. Vaughan, the director of policy studies for the Center for Immigration Studies, explained that laws are already on the books to ensure a virus like Ebola doesn’t spread to our shores.
The Immigration and Nationality Act gives the administration “broad authority to bar any non-citizen from entering the country,” she explained. The law has a provision “that bars people who have communicable diseases” from entering the country and potentially endangering Americans.
“So we’ve taken steps to protect illegal aliens from catching this in their home country but there hasn’t been anything done to protect Americans because there already are about 200,000 people who have been issued visas to travel here,” Ms. Vaughan stated. “Even if you stopped issuing visas today, there are already 200,000 people who have been issued visas to come here.”
The U.S. has only four hospitals with biocontainment facilities with 11 beds between them “that can be used at any one time for Ebola patients,” ABC News reported. “Four of those beds are currently being occupied by Ebola patients.
Dave Gahary, a former submariner in the U.S. Navy, is the host of AFP’s ‘Underground Interview’ series.
Be sure to check out all of AFP’s free audio interviews. You’ll find them on the HOME PAGE, ARCHIVES & AUDIO section.
Congressional Committee Debates Closing Borders to Ebola Nations
The House Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations was called back to Washington on October 16 for an urgent meeting on the perceived Ebola “epidemic.” The meeting was highlighted by several congressmen who insist the United States government must ban all flights from West Africa.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Thomas Frieden was among the half dozen witnesses who were pressed on the nature of Ebola and how to contain it.
The chairman of the full Energy and Commerce Committee, Representative Fred Upton (R-Mich.), was perhaps the most adamant in insisting that all airline passengers from Ebola-affected West African regions must be banned from coming to America.
Upton noted that about 150 passengers per day are arriving in the U.S. from Liberia and from three or four other West-African nations. That’s more than 1,000 per week.
Upton was joined by Tennessee Republican Marsha Blackburn in calling for a total travel ban. The ban, however, would be temporary until the reported Ebola outbreak is fully contained and subdued within West Africa, particularly in Liberia and Sierra Leone.
Reps. Tim Murphy (R-Penn.) and Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) firmly supported Upton and Blackburn. These Congress members’ key point is that containing the disease means that those living where this Ebola outbreak originated should stay there. In other words, they should not be allowed to board flights from Africa that land in Europe. That way, they’d avoid connecting flights to the U.S.
Gardner told reporters after the subcommittee meeting, “A need for a total travel ban is clear.”
Yet Obama, who is half black, so far has told the press that he won’t give in to demands from lawmakers for a ban on travelers from the worst-hit countries, which also include Guinea.
“We can’t just cut ourselves off from West Africa,” Obama said in his weekly radio address. “Trying to seal off an entire region of the world, if that were even possible, could actually make the situation worse.”
There, the president displays the mind rot of forced internationalism, a tenet of which is that any move to protect a national interest, no matter how justified, is an unforgivable sin, and that America’s open borders must be kept open at any cost. Thus, America is not treated like a sovereign state; rather, the political and economic elite see it as a corporate colony where any rule of law and real public input is virtually forbidden.
Before the subcommittee, Frieden matter-of-factly described Ebola as only being transmitted through direct contact with an infected person’s bodily fluids. But he also wavered when asked whether he feels his boss in the White House should use existing authority to enact a total travel ban.
Politically-correct Frieden indicated that a total travel ban—like that already instituted by several other nations—seems unnecessary to him. He appears
willing to first allow potentially infected people to come to the U.S. and then trust the arrivals to fully cooperate in reporting their recent contacts and submitting to a health screening.
He repeatedly stated that the CDC is following a well-organized plan to test arrivals at airports who report having fever or other possible Ebola symptoms. Then, the arrivals are asked where they’ve been and with whom they’ve been in contact.
Yet Frieden said a person won’t even test positive for Ebola until they start showing symptoms, meaning that someone with an early infection could easily pass an airport screening. Frieden did note that CDC teams have been dispatched to West Africa and are working in tandem with 4,000 U.S. troops there—at the point of origin—to fight the Ebola outbreak.
Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.) complained that Frieden would not reveal whether he had even discussed a possible travel ban with the White House. Referring to the president’s existing statutory power to enact a travel ban, Scalise added, “Right now, the ball is in the president’s court.”
There are wide-ranging and fascinating views being aired about Ebola. Some go so far as to say it’s a hoax to advance a vaccine-profiteering agenda; others say it’s real but exaggerated, and that the diagnostic procedure to confirm an Ebola infection is not totally reliable.
A total but temporary travel ban would be a safe and wise act of sovereignty. Until we get a total handle on the truth about Ebola, there should be no room for political correctness yet the federal government is more afraid of “isolationism” than Ebola. And we thought isolationism was only a sin when it comes to foreign affairs?
Amid all this, the independent-minded Iranian news service, Press TV, had something to say on this matter:
“U.S. public health authorities have imposed no quarantine on travel to the U.S. from infected countries. U.S. airlines continue to fly to and from the infected countries despite the risk of introducing new infections into the U.S.
“African countries are doing a much better job than the hegemonic superpower. They have closed borders, prevented air travel and tracked down infected persons and those exposed to them. . . . Instead of taking sensible precautions, the Obama regime appoints an Ebola czar and sends 4,000 Americans into the areas where the disease rages.”
To be safe rather than sorry, readers can help by calling the White House at 202-456-1111 or 456-1414, and Congress at 202-224-3121, to sustain and increase the demand for a sufficiently long and total travel ban from the affected nations.