Thursday, October 23, 2014

DHS announces travel restrictions related to Ebola


On October 21, 2014, the Department of Homeland Security announced travel restrictions, allegedly designed “to prevent the spread of Ebola to the United States.” The new measures are set to be implemented starting on Oct. 22, 2014.

The Department of Homeland Security still has no plans to cancel or to stop issuing thousands of visas to tourists from Ebola-stricken countries. To the contrary, the agency is offering “immigration relief” to nationals of those three countries who are currently in the United States, even if they entered illegally or overstayed their visa. The DHS is offering fee waivers and expedited processing of immigrant petitions for the nationals of Ebola-affected countries.

The new travel restrictions are quite limited in scope. Passengers of commercial flights from Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea will now have to enter the U.S. via one of the following airports:
  • New York’s JFK Airport
  • Newark Liberty International Airport
  • Dulles International Airport
  • Hartsfield–Jackson Atlanta International Airport
  • Chicago O'Hare International Airport

The DHS implemented “enhanced screening measures” at these 5 airports. Department of Homeland Security’s Customs & Border Protection (CBP) officers will ask questions pertaining to potential Ebola exposure and measure the temperature of travelers from Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.