A top Republican congressman claims the Obama administration is exploring plans to bring non-U.S. citizens infected with Ebola to the United States for treatment.
Rep. Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, told Fox News that his office has received “information from within the administration” that these plans are being developed. So far, only American Ebola patients have been brought back to the U.S. for treatment from the disease epicenter in West Africa.
Goodlatte warned that expanding that policy could put the country at more risk.
“Members of the media, my office have received confidential communications saying that those plans are being developed,” Goodlatte said Monday night.
“This is simply a matter of common sense that if you are concerned about this problem spreading — and this is a deadly disease that we’re even concerned about the great health care workers when they come back not spreading it — we certainly shouldn’t be bringing in the patients.”
The chairman wrote a letter last week to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Secretary of State John Kerry asking whether such plans exist, but he says he has not gotten a response.
The details are sketchy, if such a plan even exists.
A Goodlatte aide told FoxNews.com that “someone in one of the agencies” contacted their office with the tip — presumably, the plan would apply to non-U.S. residents. Who would pay for the transport and treatment is an open question.
In his letter last week, Goodlatte asked whether the administration is formulating such a plan, seeking details and communications among their employees.
The conservative watchdog group Judicial Watch also reported, shortly before Goodlatte sent the letter, that the administration is “actively formulating” plans to bring Ebola patients into the U.S., with the specific goal of treating them “within the first days of diagnosis.”
Goodlatte earlier had pushed the president to consider using his authority to impose a temporary ban on non-U.S. citizen travel to the United States from the three African countries hardest-hit by Ebola.
“We think, again, that’s just plain common sense, a practical way to stop this disease from spreading,” he said.
The Obama administration has pushed back on those calls, saying the most effective approach is to stop Ebola at its source in West Africa.