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Rubio, Colleagues Introduce Ebola Visa Ban Legislation

Nov 20, 2014 | Press Releases

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today introduced the Keeping America Safe from Ebola Act of 2014, legislation to impose common sense travel restrictions by creating a temporary visa ban for nationals who are habitual residents of a country that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has designated as a country with “widespread transmission of Ebola.” Aid workers and foreign military who must travel to the United States would be exempted.

Co-sponsors of the bill include Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Pat Roberts (R-KS), John Thune (R-SD) and Mark Kirk (R-IL).

Companion legislation was introduced in the House today by U.S. Representative Mike Kelly (R-PA).

“Imposing travel restrictions is a common sense approach to protecting Americans from Ebola,” said Rubio. “Over the past few months, we’ve seen Ebola’s deadly reach, and air travel has proven to be its gateway to the United States.

“A temporary visa ban aims to limit the spread of Ebola by placing strict limitations on travel to the U.S. from Ebola-affected countries and protect Americans from any potential threats of an outbreak, but it does not mean that our efforts to combat the virus will stop there,” added Rubio. “America must remain committed to this international challenge by addressing it at its source and increasing our assistance to countries that continue struggling to contain this deadly outbreak. America will not be completely safe from Ebola until the virus is contained at its source.”

Keeping America Safe from Ebola Act of 2014:

  • Suspends new visas and revokes current visas of an individual who is
    • A permanent resident or national of a country that the CDC has certified is a country for “widespread transmission of Ebola”, and
    • Whose last habitual residence was a country that the CDC has certified is a country for “widespread transmission of Ebola”
  • Exceptions for:
    • Aid workers who need to travel the U.S. and are approved by USAID
    • Foreign military who need to travel to the U.S. and are approved by Department of Defense
  • Requires the President to report to Congress every 30 days on the Ebola outbreak
    • Status of Ebola outbreak in each designated country and the progress made since last reporting period
    • A description of the U.S. assistance to each designated country
    • Reasons that a complete travel ban is not in the interest of U.S. national security
  • Termination of Act: 60 days after the date the Director of the CDC certified that there is no longer an Ebola outbreak