The director of the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) claimed on Thursday that the federal government can track everyone who enters the country from West Africa.
“Right now we are able to track everyone who comes in,” CDC director Tom Frieden alleged during a House Ebola hearing. Frieden said the federal government’s supposed ability to track everyone from West Africa is why the country should not institute an Ebola travel ban.
A GAO study last year, though, found that the Department of Homeland Security lost track of one million visa holders. This year, ABC reported that the federal government lost track of 6,000 foreigners on student visas who “could do us harm.” Nearly 40% of the country’s illegal immigrants overstayed their visas. In addition, not everyone coming to America from West Africa is screened. The federal government is only able to screen 94% of travelers from West Africa.
Thomas Eric Duncan, the Liberian immigrant who died last week after becoming the first person on American soil to be diagnosed with Ebola, entered the country on a visa under questionable circumstances. In addition, because Duncan may have falsified his questionnaire (even MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell recently conceded that people will lie on the Ebola questionnaires), the federal government would not have known to monitor him closely even if they could keep track of the 150 people a day who enter the country from West African nations.
Frieden insisted that his agency’s “fundamental mission is to protect Americans.”