Liberians are apparently flooding Roberts International Airport in Harbel, Liberia, in an attempt to flee the Ebola-struck country, raising fears that more people infected with Ebola will fly into America.Thomas Eric Duncan, the 40-year-old Liberian national who was diagnosed with Ebola a few days after arriving in Dallas, Texas, may have started a trend of “Ebola tourism” in which Liberians leave their country to seek better treatment for the disease.
“That’s not something we should be encouraging or allowing,” Mark Krikorian, executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, told the Washington Times.
Overall, around 200,000 people from the West African countries hit hardest by Ebola hold temporary visas to the U.S., but the Obama administration has rejected calls to enact a visa ban.
“Based on State Department nonimmigrant visa issuance statistics, I estimate that there are about 5,000 people in Guinea, 5,000 people in Sierra Leone, and 3,500 people in Liberia who possess visas to come to the United States today,” Jessica M. Vaughan, director of policy studies at the Center for Immigration Studies, told the Washington Examiner.
Temporary visas given to Nigerians have recently skyrocketed, with nearly 195,000 Nigerians currently holding visas, she added.
The Obama administration has similarly refused to impose a ban on travel from the Ebola hot zone into the U.S., despite pressure from a Florida Democrat and the fact that other countries have enacted similar bans.
Back in July, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) suggested the State Dept. ban citizens from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone from entering the U.S. and foreign travelers who have visited those countries in the previous 90 days.
Grayson grew concerned after an American who contracted Ebola in Liberia died in Nigeria after flying into the country through an international airport.