Republicans from the Senate Judiciary Committee are demanding that President Barack Obama immediately stop issuing visas to people from Ebola-stricken nations in West Africa.
“As members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has oversight over immigration and visa policies, we write to express our grave concerns about the seemingly inflexible position you have taken in issuing a travel ban or heightened entry requirements on individuals who may been infected with the Ebola virus,” the committee’s Republicans wrote.
The committee’s ranking Republican member Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) led a letter signed by Sens. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), John Cornyn (R-TX), Orrin Hatch (R-UT), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) calling on Obama to stop issuing such visas. The only Senate Judiciary Committee Republican who didn’t sign the letter was Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ), and a spokeswoman for Flake hasn’t immediately responded to Breitbart News on why he didn’t join his colleagues. Flake is a supporter of amnesty for illegal aliens and massively increasing legal immigration into the United States–something he helped push last year in Congress by drafting the “Gang of Eight” immigration bill. Interestingly, Graham–another “Gang of Eight” member–did sign the letter, and yet another Gang of Eight member Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) has called on Obama and his new Ebola czar Ron Klain to institute a travel ban.
The Republicans quoted Obama from his Sept. 16 speech at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) headquarters in Atlanta.
“Now, here’s the hard truth: In West Africa, Ebola is now an epidemic of the likes that we have not seen before. It’s spiraling out of control,” Obama said then. “It is getting worse. It’s spreading faster and exponentially. Today, thousands of people in West Africa are infected. That number could rapidly grow to tens of thousands. And if the outbreak is not stopped now, we could be looking at hundreds of thousands of people infected, with profound political and economic and security implications for all of us. So this is an epidemic that is not just a threat to regional security — it’s a potential threat to global security if these countries break down, if their economies break down, if people panic. That has profound effects on all of us, even if we are not directly contracting the disease.”
They wrote that they agree with Obama that it’s a national security issue, and that as such it is imperative that Obama institute a travel ban immediately.
“We couldn’t agree more that an Ebola epidemic is a national security issue, and a threat to global security,” the GOP Judiciary Committee senators wrote. “And, we couldn’t agree more with the American people that a travel ban must be put in place to protect our homeland and reduce any spread of the virus. According to officials at the State Department, between March 1, 2014, and September 27, 2014, a total of 6, 398 visas were issued to nationals of the following countries; 3,135 for Liberians, 1,472 for Sierra Leoneans, and 1,791 for Guineans. Meanwhile, according to International SOS, dozens of countries – including many in Africa – have instituted travel and entry restrictions.”
They called on Obama to cease visa issuance to people from Sierra Leone, Liberia and Guinea “immediately,” and “to consider expanding this ban to other countries that may not have standards in place to properly screen travelers entering the United States.”
“We also urge you to more strongly use tools at your disposal to receive flight manifests ahead of time to screen and turn away passengers if they have traveled to or are coming from countries with an Ebola outbreak,” they wrote.
They said that Obama “must consider all options to prevent the spread of the Ebola virus” and that “dismissing a travel ban or a moratorium on visa issuances sends a signal that you’re not serious about containing the outbreak and preventing infections of individuals on U.S. soil.”
“We implore you to immediately use your statutory authority under Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act to suspend the entry of all aliens or any class of aliens as immigrants or nonimmigrants who are detrimental to the interests of the United States,” they wrote.
Sen. Sessions, in a separate statement that he personally issued, said that Obama’s new Ebola czar Ron Klain should have the American people very worried.
“Ebola is a health crisis,” Sessions said. “Yet the President has appointed as his new Ebola ‘czar’ a partisan loyalist whose expertise is politics–not health. One would think, faced with the prospect of an epidemic, the President would task an expert in epidemiology not an expert in political spin. Sound bites are not going to deter a single infection or save a single life. The American people can have zero confidence in Ron Klain’s competence to carry out this critical role.”
Sessions that Obama seems to have surround himself with “loyalists” who won’t tell him “no” when necessary–something that is dangerous for someone serving as a nation’s executive.
“At the senior levels of this government, in positions of extraordinary responsibility, the President has surrounded himself with loyalists–individuals who were selected precisely because they are not independent, will not tell the President ‘no’, and will not have any problem in feeding bogus political spin to the media,” Sessions said. “The President’s Director of Health and Human Services, Sylvia Burwell, was promoted after refusing to answer even those most basic financial questions from Congress during her dismal tenure at the Office of Management and Budget. Burwell, a former campaign operative, was tasked with overseeing the nation’s healthcare system despite no consequential health care experience. Secretary Jeh Johnson was chosen to head the one of the largest and most important departments of government despite being a political lawyer with no relevant background. Johnson has devoted his short tenure not to strengthening enforcement but dismantling it. Just today–as American citizens face a jobs crisis, debt crisis, border crisis, security crisis, and now a health crisis–Secretary Johnson announced actions not to restore gutted enforcement, but further steps to open our borders. DHS is now extending what amounts to a perpetual amnesty to thousands of immigrants from Honduras and Nicaragua, while expediting immigration from Haiti at a time when we can’t keep track of the millions we are already admitting.”
Sessions added that the “danger” to Americans because of Obama’s actions and inactions “at this moment is profound.”
“We need to be barring visas and travel from Ebola-impacted regions,” Sessions said. “Additionally, should there be an outbreak in Latin America, General John Kelly of SOUTHCOM has warned that it would cause a ‘mass migration’ from Latin America of those seeking free medical treatment in the United States. ‘If it breaks out, it’s literally Katie bar the door,’ he warned. Does anyone believe that this Administration is prepared to protect this country from such a scenario? The Administration continues to refuse to implement even the most commonsense immigration controls to protect public health and public tax dollars. Mr. Klain’s appointment, unfortunately, suggests things will get worse–not better.”