THE TRANSATLANTIC MAGAZINE
The New York Times is reporting that the White House is seriously considering rules which would temporarily stop US passport holders and other legal residents from entering the United States, in a bid to reduce cases of Covid-19.
The report claims that "President Trump is considering new immigration regulations that would allow border officials to temporarily block American citizens and legal permanent residents from returning to the United States from abroad if authorities believe they may be infected with the coronavirus."
The US already prohibits entry to non-US passport holders who have been in most European countries, including the UK, in the last 14 days. However, the proposed regulations would further these restrictions by also expanding "the government’s power to prevent entry by citizens and legal residents in individual, limited circumstances."
With the number of cases of Covid-19 increasing in Europe, if such regulations are introduced, overseas Americans could be particularly affected.
The New York Times article goes on to say that "Under the proposal, which relies on existing legal authorities of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the government could block a citizen or legal resident from crossing the border into the United States if an official 'reasonably believes that the individual either may have been exposed to or is infected with the communicable disease.'" Such an open interpretation, coupled with increasing cases in the UK and Europe, could conceivably lead to a scenario where Americans are refused entry without due process. Although the Times indicates that documents they saw say that any regulations should "include appropriate protections to ensure that no Constitutional rights are infringed", it would be a highly controversial step to allow US passport and green card holders to be stopped at the border.
The full New York Times article can be found on www.nytimes.com.