Hooray for freedom of movement! While the United States government has always required travelers to submit to travel restrictions for security reasons, these arbitrary restrictions have gone too far. While a government spokesperson insisted that this is a necessary security precaution, there are no good reasons for denying people the ability to travel that are not related to security.
In a few days, the U.S. Department of State will be announcing lifting of the travel restrictions against citizens of any country that is a member of the United Nations Security Council’s recently issued “resolution” in regard to any activity that might promote the development of the Palestinian Authority.
The United States has had a travel ban on Cuba in place for more than 50 years. The ban, which was originally put in place during the Cold War, was rolled out after the 1959 Cuban revolution. The law states that U.S. citizens are prohibited from traveling to Cuba on any kind of organized tour without first getting the permission of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, which is the agency in charge of enforcing the ban. Yet, a number of U.S. citizens have continued to be detained or arrested for trying to visit the island nation.
It’s Absurdly Past Time To Lift U.S. Covid-19 Travel Bans
by Gary Leff on July 17, 2021
Travelers are banned from entering the U.S. if in the prior 14 days they’ve been in China, Iran, the European Schengen area, U.K. and Ireland, Brazil, South Africa or India. That’s true even,
- though the U.S. requires testing of everyone entering by air
- if the traveler has had a full course of an mRNA vaccine
- and is coming from a place with far less Covid-19 than the U.S.
This makes no sense. Americans can go to Europe and they can return – in some cases even if they’re unvaccinated. But vaccinated Europeans can’t fly to the U.S. And this is somehow for our protection?
Vaccinated Americans are no longer recommended to wear masks inside of restaurants or even stadiums, because the risk of infection is so low and the risk of being a carrier and spreading to others is so low. Yet they have to wear a mask and show proof of a negative Covid-19 test to return to their country by air. (If they fly to Mexico and drive across the border that’s ok, even if they have Covid-19.)
And who is being protected? Largely Americans who have chosen not to be vaccinated. And what are they being protected from?
The travel ban doesn’t protect the U.S. from variants. The U.K. travel ban didn’t stop the B.1.1.7 ‘Alpha’ variant. The India travel ban didn’t stop the Indian ‘Delta’ variant. And indeed, the virus mutates independently in similar ways around the world. It mutates here because people aren’t vaccinated and become hosts for the virus and its mutation.
There’s simply no evidence that a ban on travel from these countries has limited Covid-19 deaths in the U.S. And the travel bans have never included countries with arguably similar or much worse experiences with Covid-19 like Peru, Bulgaria, Colombia, Argentina, Paraguay, Chile, or Russia.
Unvaccinated Russians and Argentines are welcomes into the U.S, while vaccinated French who test negative for Covid-19 are not – even as Americans return home from France in droves.
The Europe and China travel ban made no sense last summer. The China travel ban was bungled by the CDC and the European ban came too late to mater.
Spread is increasing in the United States, but that just means that foreigners arriving from more places are less likely to carry the virus than the median unvaccinated American – double and triply so for vaccinated foreigners who test negative for Covid-19. U.S. policy here has become a farce. It was one thing when these political, not science-based, policies were being propagated by the Trump administration but the Biden administration is no better. Indeed in some ways they’re worse.
More From View from the Wing
The United States has a long history of banning people from entering the country for various reasons. The most prominent examples are the Japanese internment camps of World War II, where Japanese-Americans were rounded up and locked up for the duration of the war. The United States has also banned immigration from Cuba and other Communist countries, and has blocked many people from traveling to the country on the Visa Waiver Program, which allows citizens from certain countries to enter the country without a visa.. Read more about do vaccinated travelers need to quarantine uk and let us know what you think.
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