About The Travel Ban
Learn about the history of the travel ban on European and British visitors and why it's wrong.
On March 12, 2020, President Donald Trump announced that amid growing numbers of coronavirus cases throughout Europe, his administration would suspend travel from 26 Schengen Area European nations, the United Kingdom and Ireland. The executive order exempted American citizens and U.S. lawful permanent residents and it was sold as a temporary measure meant to allow the country to obtain better control of rising COVID-19 cases at home.
Instead, the travel ban dragged on for months. Families were kept apart. Significant others were separated. Babies were born. Relatives and friends passed away. Weddings, birthdays, graduations and funerals were missed. Meanwhile, businesses were destroyed, and billions of dollars in commercial activity were simply thrown away.
During this time, Americans and U.S. residents were able to travel freely throughout the country, needing only a face covering to board a plane or other public transportation. They were not even required to show a negative COVID-19 test to travel, even at the pandemic’s peak.
As optimism about the success of America’s vaccine campaign increased, President Donald Trump announced in January 2021 that he would rescind the previous travel restrictions on European and British travelers to the U.S. Unfortunately, then-President-elect Joe Biden announced he would upon entering office reinstate the travel ban, further exacerbating the suffering of loved ones kept apart by the rule. Moreover, the Biden administration further restricted the criteria for a National Interest Exception from the COVID19-related travel ban.
In Spring 2021, European nations began announcing that they would end all restrictions on American travelers to Europe. Some would require proof of vaccination, a negative COVID-19 test or documentation of recovery from coronavirus. In Summer 2021, the United Kingdom followed suit, declaring it, too, would allow vaccinated or negative-testing American travelers to visit Britain. As a result, Americans have traveled regularly between the U.S. and Europe, even as Europeans cannot board those same flights to travel between the two hemispheres. And while COVID-19 variants make their way through the U.S., the EU has still declined reestablishing a travel ban on Americans.
Now, European and British leaders are demanding reciprocity from the U.S. government, arguing that, especially in European nations, vaccine efforts are similar or better than those in America. They explained that the human and economic costs are too grave to continue maintaining the ban. Business leaders from around the globe have sounded the alarm of the desperate economic consequences of continued restrictions on travel between Europe and the U.S. Yet, the Biden Administration has ignored all their pleas, as well as the cries of families and loved ones who suffer daily due to this cruel and unscientific ban.
More than 500 days have passed since the enactment of the American travel ban on European visitors. The Biden Administration has thus far been unable to provide any scientific justification for extending the ban, and a growing consensus of bipartisan lawmakers and experts have condemned the White House’s refusal to budge.
Why It's Wrong
President Biden’s ban on visitors from Europe and the United Kingdom is both cruel and unscientific.