Protecting Americans from Ebola

By Marguerite Telford on October 20, 2014

The administration's refusal to use immigration policy to keep Americans safe from the Ebola virus is symptomatic of the administration's general immigration philosophy. The administration prefers not to distinguish between legal and illegal immigrants, ignoring the fiscal, labor, and security impact of illegal immigration on U.S. citizens and residents. To blur the distinction, the administration leans toward open-border policies and amnesty for aliens breaking U.S. laws. American citizenship is not considered a privilege; it has become an entitlement for anyone and everyone because the administration has declared national sovereignty a dirty word.

The president could have implemented travel restrictions to ensure the safety of Americans weeks ago. He could have suspended consular services, restricting visas for individuals coming to the United States. Instead, he emphatically proclaimed that Ebola was "highly unlikely" to come to the United States. Now the disease is here.

Americans have watched as the first person on U.S. soil died of Ebola and the first citizen contracted it here in the country. We have watched our soldiers be sent into harm's way, with a mere four hours of Ebola-related training, to build hospitals that could have been built by an international contingent. We watch as hundreds of citizens are placed in containment units and on monitoring lists.

We continue to watch as 100-150 people from Ebola-infected countries arrive daily in this country. During a congressional hearing last week, Rep. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.) pointed out the lack of screening these individuals are receiving. "There's 2,000 to 3,000 people ... entering this country a year without checking their temperature, without having a contact sheet," said Gardner.

The administration has yet to be able to fully explain why containment should not be a part of the strategy for keeping Americans safe. It is hard to fathom an explanation for why containment would not mitigate the risk of transmission. Maybe the newly appointed Ebola Response Coordinator will craft that talking point.

Thirty nations have now instituted a travel ban. Support in the United States is growing. As of Thursday night, 59 lawmakers in the House had spoken out in support of a travel ban, 53 Republicans and six Democrats, and 11 in the Senate ,10 Republicans and one Democrat. The split by party also reflects the immigration philosophy split.

The administration and many lawmakers have forgotten their role is to act in the best interest of the country and her citizens. They want the borders open, so illegal immigrants will have access despite the risks and costs to Americans; they want the borders open so West African nations won't be stigmatized despite the risk of Americans contracting Ebola.

President Obama should protect the country by using our immigration laws and policies as they were intended. If the president does not make Americans the top priority, who will?