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Trump Considers Barring Citizens with Virus from Entering Country

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Trump Considers Barring Citizens with Virus from Entering Country

2020-08-11 16:34:37

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image: Donald Trump (Image source: Screenshot)

The coronavirus may be providing troubles for Donald Trump, but it's also providing him excuses for some of the ideas he's been pushing for five years, since he first announced he was running for president in 2015. He's been looking for reasons to keep people from crossing the Mexico/United States border into this country, and he may have found a way to bar more from entering the country.

Trump had said when announcing his candidacy in 2015 that he wanted to keep people from crossing the Mexico/U.S. border, citing that they weren't sending their "best." He followed this by signing an executive order that was dubbed the "Muslim ban."

He has spent much of his time trying to secure the funding to build a border wall to keep those from Mexico and Central America from crossing the border. He's also advanced legislation several times that was designed to keep undocumented immigrants out.

Earlier in the coronavirus pandemic, Trump set rules that ban people from other countries entering the U.S. because of the risk of spreading the virus. Likewise, some countries have also blocked the U.S. from entering.

Two categories of people that were except for the recent ban are American citizens and non-citizens who have already established legal residence in the U.S.

A draft of new legislation would extend the government's authority to prevent entry into the U.S. by citizens and legal residents under limited circumstances. Feedback has been requested from federal agencies with a due date of Tuesday, but it's unclear when the legislation would be announced or even approved.

This new legislation would rely on the existing legal authority of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It gives the government the authority to block a citizen or legal resident from crossing the border into the U.S. if an official "reasonably believes that the individual either may have been exposed to or is infected with the communicable disease."

The draft spells out that any order that blocks citizens and legal residents must "include appropriate protections to ensure that no Constitutional rights are infringed." It further maintains that citizens and legal residents can't be blocked as one class of people.

It is not spelled out how long these people would be required to stay outside of the U.S. It also makes it seem that this legislation would only be relied upon occasionally or "only in the rarest of circumstances." It suggests it would be relied on "when required in the interest of public health and be limited in duration."

If Trump approves the change, it would add to his many attempts to keep people from crossing the border, although for the reason of preventing the spread of COVID-19 and not his usual reason of blocking people he doesn't approve of.

Whether or not there are existing rules that prevent citizens and legal residents from crossing the border because of a communicable disease isn't clear. Entry has been denied to people before based on national security issues.

This new proposal appears to apply to all points of entry into the U.S., including both borders. It also includes airports and would especially impact the southern border, as many people cross back and forth daily. 

The reason for this concern is noted as the coronavirus caseload in Mexico and a death earlier this month of the health minister in Chihuahua, a Mexican border state, who died of COVID-19, according to the order.

 

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