Rep. Ed Royce (R-CA), the Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, reported that US embassies Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia are processing over 100 visa applications daily and argued that the US should halt visas applications until the outbreak is contained on Thursday’s “Your World with Neil Cavuto” on the Fox News Channel.
Royce pointed to the way the US handled past outbreaks, saying “in 2009, when h5n1 influenza, when the flu was a major problem, you’ll noticed that we suspended visas in, for example, in one of the consulates in Mexico. Why? Because we knew that people who were infected might fly to the United States. So until that situation got under control, there was a suspension. The question I’ve had is, why at the outset of the Ebola pandemic, why we didn’t quit issuing those travel visas? And to this we have not received a response yet.”
He further argued “there isn’t an inalienable right to travel or tourism to the United States. That’s a privilege, from a part of the world, especially, where, at this point in time, you have a pandemic. It is only common sense to issue an order to take a time-out on issuing those visas. The fact that the administration has not done that gives us the impression that none of this is being thought through…these things seem to me self-evident, and that’s why I’m calling for an immediate follow of the procedure. 19 times in the past, that I’ve seen, we’ve had regional conflicts or the flu, and decisions were made to put the issuing of visas on hold. Certainly we should be doing that right now.”
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