Texas Succeeds Where Federal Government Failed on Ebola
by Lamar Smith on October 17, 2014 at 3:24 PM
The Texas Department of State Health Services announced today it is enacting its own travel ban on health workers who have treated Ebola patients. The decision comes as the Obama administration continues to refuse to enforce a flight ban on travelers coming from countries most affected by the Ebola virus. I have been calling for increased scrutiny on travel since early October when the first U.S. case of Ebola was confirmed in Dallas.
In the wake of this administration’s failures, I welcome today’s decision by the Texas Department of State Health Services to enact its own travel ban on health workers who have treated Ebola patients. Once more, the state of Texas has succeeded where the federal government failed. I believe this is truly a case where an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It is time for the president to take common-sense measures, and past time to institute a travel ban on those coming from the countries of Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia. We should also immediately cease issuing the hundreds of visas that are being given out daily at our embassies in these three countries.
It is appropriate to allow our military forces to take the lead transporting personnel in and out of the West African countries as they assist in battling this deadly virus. The White House has given many empty excuses for not issuing a travel ban. By refusing to institute a ban on grounds that some might try to violate it, the president is admitting defeat from the start. We cannot abdicate our responsibility to protect the American public simply because the task appears difficult.
We will continue to keep all those working to fight this deadly virus in our thoughts and prayers. Our first priority must continue to be the safety and well-being of the American public. A recent Washington Post- ABC News poll showed that 91 percent of Americans support stricter screening of people entering the United States who have been in African countries affected by the outbreak, and 67 percent support completely restricting entry to people traveling from those countries.