Another Jesse Helms Legacy Begins To Fall

Jim Burroway

July 30th, 2008

President George Bush today signed the sweeping President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) into law. This bill vastly expands U.S. aid to combat HIV/AIDS overseas. It also carries a repeal of the so-called Helms Amendment from 1993, which barred foreign travelers and immigrants with HIV from entering the country.

While the travel ban is now removed from law, it is still in place as a matter of public policy. In 1987, the Department of Health and Human Services used its existing legal authority to add HIV to a list of communicable diseases that disqualifies HIV-positive visitors from entering the country. While the HHS is no longer required by law to keep the ban in place, it is authorized to designate any communicable disease as a reason to refuse admittance.

So far, neither the Administration nor HHS are commenting on whether administrative policies will change now that the ban is lifted. According to The Washington Blade:

Some Capitol Hill insiders have speculated that the Bush administration might decide to leave the HHS policy in place, preferring to let the next president decide whether to repeal it. That would leave the ban in place until at least late January.

A spokesperson for Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, said Obama opposes the ban and would take action to end it if he’s elected president.

A spokesperson for the campaign of Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, did not return a call seeking McCain’s position on the issue.

pooja

July 31st, 2008

hi,
interesting post!!
thanks for sharing.
today HIV/AIDS is the most dangerous disease…a very sensitive topic too… it requires people to come together n fight against it it..
thats a great initiative by Mr Bush to Combat HIV/AIDS

I am also serving a similar cause.
I am voluntarily working with the United Nations on its Millennium Development Goals.
if theres any way u can contribute than pls let me know.
thanks.

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