The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on Tuesday announced new travel restrictions in an effort to combat the spread of the Ebola virus. Countries afflicted with the virus will have to fly to specific airports to undergo enhanced screening.
Last week, DHS, along with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), implemented enhanced screening measures at five American airports:
John F. Kennedy International Airport (New York)
Newark Liberty International Airport
Dulles International (Northern Virginia)
In a press release, DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson announced that passengers whose flights originate in Liberia, Sierra Leone, or Guinea must fly into one of these airports to undergo enhanced screening. There are currently no direct, non-stop commercial flights from any of these countries that go anywhere in the U.S. The restrictions go into effect Wednesday.
Johnson added that measures are in place to identify and screen anyone “at all land, sea, and airports of entry into the United States who we have reason to believe has been present in Liberia, Sierra Leone, or Guinea in the preceding 21 days.”
Advertisement - story continues below
According to The Hill, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said the Obama Administration was “pleased” the restrictions would be going into effect soon.
“This is relatively creative policy making…This is a situation where the DHS had to work with the airlines that are flying passengers from a wide variety of countries from Europe to the United States. It did require some work with the State Department to inform other countries. So there’s a lot of coordination that had to go into developing and implementing this policy.”
The Hill noted that 73 House members, including nine Democrats, have called for a travel ban.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R-Virginia) commended the Obama Administration for “more concern” about Ebola, but said he wants to see more.
“President Obama has a real solution at his disposal under current law and can use it at any time to temporarily ban foreign nationals from entering the United States from Ebola-ravaged countries. The vast majority of Americans strongly support such a travel moratorium and I urge the President to take every step possible to protect the American people from danger.”
h/t: The Hill