President Donald Trump has been considering new immigration rules that would temporarily ban U.S. citizens and legal residents who may have been exposed to COVID-19 from re-entering the country, The New York Times reports.
Under the proposal, if an official “reasonably believes” that the individual has been exposed to or is infected with the coronavirus, the government would have the right to block them from entering the United States.
The publication, which obtained parts of the draft proposal, revealed on Monday that federal agencies have been asked to submit feedback by Tuesday, August 11.
According to the news source, the draft explicitly outlined that any order that blocks citizens and legal permanent residents must include appropriate protections to ensure that no constitutional rights are infringed. It also noted that individuals could not be blocked from the country as an entire class of people.
However, it was not clear from the documents obtained how long banned individuals would need to remain outside the U.S. before being permitted to return.
“C.D.C. expects that any prohibition on the introduction of U.S. citizens or L.P.R.s from abroad would apply only in the rarest of circumstances, when required in the interest of public health, and be limited in duration,” the draft stated.
The publication revealed that the proposal appeared to apply to all U.S. points of entry, including airports and land borders. The document pointed to the prevalence of COVID-19 in Mexico as one reason to bring in the proposed rule and highlighted the recent death of the health minister in the border state of Chihuahua.
Speaking to The New York Times, Omar Jadwat, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union’s Immigrants’ Rights Project, said that barring American citizens from the U.S. is “unconstitutional.”
“The Trump administration has rolled out one border ban after another — most recently on children and asylum seekers — using Covid-19 as an excuse, while failing abysmally to get the virus under control in the United States,” he said. “The rumored order would be another grave error in a year that has already seen far too many.”
Should this move go ahead, it would mark a significant change in Trump’s coronavirus policy.
As The Inquisitr reported, the president has imposed sweeping bans on foreign nationals entering the United States from Europe, China, and Brazil. However, so far, there have been no entry restrictions placed on U.S. citizens or legal residents.
As The Daily Mail noted, while many countries have placed travel bans on foreigners from coronavirus hotspots around the world, most have made exceptions for citizens and legal residents trying to return home.