In 2010, the Obama administration quietly trashed a comprehensive system of quarantine regulations designed to prevent the spread of disease such as Ebola into the United States by international travelers.
Four years later, Ebola has crossed the U.S. border, while calls for travel restrictions come from virtually every segment of American society–except for the White House.
A “We The People” petition was created Wednesday, which already include over 95,000 signatures, that calls for the administration to “Have the FAA ban all incoming and outgoing flights to ebola-stricken countries until the ebola outbreak is contained.”
The White House, however, is holding firm on its decision to allow flights to enter the country from West Africa. Townhall reported:
Speaking from the White House Wednesday, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest dodged questions about why flights from countries with Ebola outbreaks are still being accepted to the United States. He did not detail any future plans to stop flights from those countries, or to track connections through Europe to those countries, despite the first case of Ebola showing up in the U.S. after a Liberian man went to a funeral in West Africa and then returned home to Dallas.
In his justification of the administration continuing to allow flights, Earnest argued that because people carrying Ebola don’t have symptoms when they get on planes, there isn’t a need to limit travel.
The regulations were proposed by the George W. Bush administration in 2005, and praised by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at the time as “critical to protecting Americans from dangerous diseases spread by travelers,” according to USA Today.
They were scrapped at the urging of airline and civil liberties groups.
“The fact that they’re backing away from this very coercive style of quarantine is good news,” ACLU legislative counsel Christopher Calabrese said in 2010, USA Today reported.
Although the regulations would have covered a whole host of infectious illnesses, the fear at the time they were proposed was the spread of avian flu.
According to The Daily Caller:
The regulations proposed under the Bush administration would have granted the federal government a power of “provisional quarantine” to confine airline passengers involuntarily for up to three days if they exhibit symptoms of certain infectious diseases. Federal officials would also have been able to quarantine passengers exposed to people with those symptoms.
There was a fairly long list of diseases. It included smallpox, yellow fever, diphtheria, pandemic flu, infectious tuberculosis, cholera — and viral fevers such as Ebola
Since an Ebola patient first popped up in Texas, other patients who are possibly stricken with the virus have appeared in Georgia and Washington, D.C.
Click the image below to watch a report on this story via The Daily Caller.