Congressman Smith Supports Travel Ban to Stop Spread of Ebola

Today I joined fellow Texas Republicans in sending a letter to President Obama asking that he put a travel ban in place for those traveling from West African countries most affected by the Ebola outbreak.

In part, the letter reads:

Second guessing will not protect Texans and other Americans who are worried about the spread of Ebola in the United States. Section 212(f) of the Immigration and Nationality Act gives you the authority to deny entry into the United States of any class of aliens whose entry "would be detrimental to the interests of the United States." We strongly urge you to use that authority to put in place a travel ban for individuals traveling from Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia. As you know, these countries have been struggling to contain the Ebola outbreak. According to the World Health Organization, the current Ebola outbreak in West Africa is the largest and deadliest in recorded history and has killed more than 4,000 people. It is time to take proactive precautions to prevent additional Ebola cases from arriving on our shores.

Northeastern University Professor Alessandro Vespignani has developed a computer model that calculates the risk of Ebola being spread through air travel. According to his analysis, the United States is one of the top 16 countries at risk of Ebola from passengers arriving on commercial air flights. Professor Vespignani’s analysis went on to conclude that if we restrict air travel we reduce that risk by at least 50 percent. …

Implementing travel restrictions is the most effective way to prevent the continued spread of Ebola in this country. We strongly urge you to immediately use your authority to implement a travel ban and protect Americans from this deadly disease.


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