President Obama ended the policy banning people with HIV from entering the U.S. in 2009, and now the administration is eliminating the entry ban for another three sexually transmitted diseases, according to the Center for Immigration Studies.
According to a CIS report slated for release on Tuesday, the Obama administration is removing chancroid, granuloma inguinale, and lymphogranuloma venereum from the list of diseases that would prevent a non-U.S. citizen from entering the U.S.
“Accordingly, this [final rule] will: Revise the definition of communicable disease of public health significance by removing chancroid, granuloma inguinale, and lymphogranuloma venereum as inadmissible health-related conditions for aliens seeking admission to the United States,” explains the January 26, 2016, Federal Register entry.
With the rule change, the only named diseases which would bar entry as “communicable diseases of public health significance” are tuberculosis, leprosy, syphilis, and gonorrhea.
The author of the report and CIS’s legal policy analyst Jon Feere, argues that the policy change could have public health consequences.
“This change in policy illustrates, once again, that increased immigration is the main goal of the Obama administration, no matter the costs,” he said in a statement. “The administration itself estimates that more people will become infected and that there will be increased health care costs as a result of these changes. But obviously these are considerations that have little relevance for those with an open-border perspective.”
As Feere notes in his report, the Department of Health and Human Services estimates that the cost of lifting the ban on chancroid-, granuloma inguinale-, and lymphogranuloma venereum-infected non-citizens would be less than $100 million annually.
In its rule, the administration argues that the changes represent a modernization of the policy and will allow the physicians who perform the medical exams to “be able to devote more time and training to other, more common and/or more serious health issues.”
According to Feere, the logic is similar to the administration’s changes to immigration enforcement, wherein the administration has implemented a priority policy that only enforces immigration laws when an alien commits a violent crime.
“[I]t means that plenty of dangerous aliens get a pass and it means that violence has largely become a prerequisite for immigration enforcement. Similarly, the change in STD policies means that many infections are potentially being ignored,” Feere wrote in his report.
“The United States has the highest prevalence of HIV infection of any developed country. The Obama administration’s policy change may ensure that the United States keeps that title. In the least, the 2009 and 2016 changes will reduce the ability of our immigration system to protect Americans from communicable diseases.”