Of all the examples of incompetence and failure to protect Americans that the Obama Administration has displayed, its failure to keep Ebola out of our country may be the worst. Obama’s number-one job is to keep dangerous people from coming into America, and he has flunked the test.
Ebola is a particularly horrible disease. Infected patients face a death rate of 25 to 90 percent.
Long ago, our country designated Ellis Island as a place where people could be held until we decided whether or not to let them in. Disease is one of the major reasons why, over the years, thousands of people have been denied entry and returned to wherever they came from.
Ellis Island was a facility with immigration inspectors and public health officials who screened out aliens who might have a disease that posed a health risk to Americans. Just because the alien reached Ellis Island was no guarantee of being admitted to the U.S.
Ellis Island inspection was thorough. Anyone suspected of having been exposed to Ebola, or who comes from a country where Ebola is a problem, should be denied entry.
But Obama’s priority is apparently not protecting the safety of Americans. Remember, his proclaimed goal is the fundamental transformation of the United States to make us more like other countries, and in 2010, the Obama Administration scrapped regulations that might have prevented Ebola from entering the U.S.
We thank Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal for calling on Obama to “stop accepting flights from countries that are Ebola stricken.” Good for Jindal; that’s the kind of leadership we expect from a President.
Obama already has authority under the law to deny entry to diseased applicants. Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) called on Obama to invoke this law immediately in order “to ensure Americans are not exposed to this deadly disease.”
The response of Obama’s Director of the Centers for Disease Control shows what’s wrong with the current administration. Director Tom Frieden said the only way to eliminate Americans’ risk to Ebola is to stop the virus “at the source” in Africa.
No, that’s not the only way. The best, surest and cheapest way is to make sure that visitors from Ebola-infected countries don’t step off a plane in the United States.
It will be very costly, both in dollars and American lives, to try to eradicate diseases in war-torn areas of the world hostile to the United States. The World Health Organization reported last week that more than 3,400 people have died from among a total of nearly 7,500 people infected with Ebola in West Africa, with casualties increasing rapidly.
Nobody elected Obama to clean up Africa. His job is to stop Ebola from coming into the United States and infecting Americans with this fatal disease. The lack of a sensible screening procedure by Obama resulted in the need to quarantine an entire plane, filled with passengers, at Newark last Saturday.
A passenger originally from Liberia had vomited, a symptom of Ebola (and, of course, of countless other ailments), all passengers were then ordered to remain in their seats for nearly two hours after the plane landed, and held for another two hours after they deplaned. Passengers subsequently complained about how poorly government officials handled the incident.
Ebola had actually already arrived earlier in the United States in the person of Thomas Eric Duncan, an unemployed Liberian single man who had filled out and signed a form denying that he had any disease. The Liberia Airport Authority chairman now says Duncan lied on the form, and several of the hospital’s medical professionals are under watch after treating Duncan.
Five students at four different schools then came into contact with Duncan, according to the Superintendent of Dallas Independent School District, and you can imagine the worries of their parents.
While refusing to sensibly secure our borders, officials announced that they expect an increase in Ebola-related incidents in the United States. With the massive influx of unchecked foreigners across our borders, including 130,000 from Central America since last October, why are we surprised about this alarming spread of foreign diseases into the United States?
Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) has made a sensible suggestion with respect to Ebola. He is demanding a travel ban on applicants from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, and on any foreign person who has visited one those nations 90 days prior to arriving in the U.S.
However, Obama has failed to use his legal power to deny entry. Federal law gives the president the power to seal the borders to any class of aliens who pose a threat to the U.S., but not even a month ago Obama was insisting that it is unlikely someone with Ebola would reach our shores.
Phyllis Schlafly is a lawyer, conservative political analyst and author of 22 books. She is the co-author, with George Neumayr, of the New York Times Best-Seller titled “No Higher Power: Obama’s War on Religious Freedom.” She can be contacted by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. To find out more about Phyllis Schlafly and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Website at www.creators.com