Believe it or not, some people in government want to supersede laws by instituting what essentially amounts to an Ebola travel ban.
News organizations in the United States are spreading quite a bit of worry about the possibility of Ebola becoming an epidemic in America. While international medical organizations agree that Ebola poses little to no measurable threat to the United States, representatives in the US government are still calling for a travel ban to be issued for the three countries most heavily affected by the current Ebola outbreak: Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.
Interestingly, the US government has the power to cancel a travel visa to the United States, but it cannot nullify passports. In other words, the US State Department can prevent any African citizens that it chooses to from entering the United States. However, the State Department cannot keep American citizens with valid US passports from returning to the United States from African nations.
Some people in government want to supersede this law by instituting what essentially amounts to an Ebola travel ban. If Congress temporarily passes a ban on travel between the United States and the three primarily affected African countries, that band would temporarily prevent (or at least make it much harder for) US citizens and citizens of Africa to travel to the United States.
Such a ban has already been instituted by several African nations as well as the United Kingdom and France. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) has advised against issuing travel bans, noting that air travel poses a minimal risk of Ebola being transmitted to the United States. Of course, a handful of cases have managed to pop up in America, but each case has been contained and well handled. WHO, the CDC, and numerous health organizations throughout the United States insist that Ebola presents virtually no risk to the American population and that Americans should instead be focused on doing whatever we can to help control the outbreak in the most terribly affected African countries.
Whether a travel ban is put in place or not, it is likely that aid workers and medical personnel will still be able to obtain the necessary visas to provide medical services in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone. Currently, anyone traveling to the United States from these countries must go through a screening process at the airport before being allowed to continue their travels. So far, over 70 people have been prevented from traveling to the United States through this system, and the CDC believes that the screening process has been very effective.
Perhaps instead of worrying about a potential epidemic that is virtually certain not to happen in the United States, we should focus our attention on the devastation and loss that actually is happening right now in Africa. Learn how you can help by visiting One.org for a list of charities currently fighting Ebola in West Africa.