U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida plans to introduce a bill that would stop new visas for people from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Rubio is among several republican members of congress who have advocated legislation that would ban travelers coming from West Africa over fears of Ebola. He described the visa ban as “common sense,” according to Business Insider.
"Our biggest priority is ensuring that sufficient safeguards are in place to limit the spread of Ebola, contain it at the source, and protect Americans,” he said. "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.”
More than a dozen senators and 72 House members, including nine Democrats, support some kind of travel ban, according to the Hill. Texas Republicans Rep. Kenny Marchant and Rep. Sam Johnson also plan to introduce a bill aimed at keeping non-U.S. citizens traveling from West Africa from coming to the U.S.
"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.”
With the death toll from Ebola steadily on the rise in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, whether to ban West African travelers from coming to the U.S. has become a divisive topic among U.S. politicians. The Obama administration has said it would not support restricting travel out of the region, something critics claim Democrats will use to appeal to immigrant voters in the upcoming midterm election season. Health officials have said it is a big mistake to ban travel from West Africa as it would make the situation there worse, ultimately putting the U.S. even more at risk if the epidemic were to spiral out of control.