Rubio to introduce Ebola travel ban legislation

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Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) plans to introduce legislation banning travel between the U.S. and three West African countries hardest hit by the deadly Ebola virus, his office announced Monday.

{mosads}“While Ebola’s deadly reach has proven to be a complex and unique international challenge, the many uncertainties surrounding this virus continue to threaten U.S. national security,” Rubio said in a statement.

“We must take any and all necessary precautions to contain this virus — and common sense restrictions on travel from countries now confronting this epidemic is an important step,” he added.

The White House has rejected growing calls by lawmakers to ban travel for those coming from Ebola-stricken nations, a sentiment reiterated earlier on Monday by deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes.

“I think what the American people want is for their government to do what is going to work,” Rhodes said on MSNBC.

“There’s no ideology here. The president wants solutions that will work in containing the spread of Ebola, protecting the American people, and again, also containing the spread in West Africa,” he added.

Seventy-two members of the House, including nine Democrats, as well as more than a dozen senators are in favor of a travel ban in some form, according to The Hill’s tally.

Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.) said last week he plans to introduce legislation aimed at cutting visas for those traveling to the U.S. from those countries most affected by Ebola.

Texas Republican Reps. Kenny Marchant and Sam Johnson also plan to introduce a bill in the House aimed at cutting off visas for non-U.S. citizens traveling from Ebola-stricken countries.

Rubio said the virus should be addressed “at its source” by temporarily banning new travel visas for those coming from Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone.

“This ban on issuance of visas does not mean we will be completely cutting off the affected countries from the outside world,” Rubio said.

“We must continue to increase our assistance to those countries as they struggle to contain this outbreak. That is, ultimately, the only way we will be able to stop this outbreak and keep Americans safe from this horrible disease,” he added. 

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