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Author Topic: Making it easier for HIV+ travelers to enter the US: Another Bush Lie  (Read 2454 times)

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Offline Andy Velez

  • Global Moderator
  • Member
  • Posts: 24,763
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Victoria Neilson/ Immigration Equality / Phone: 212.714.2904 /
vneilson@immigrationequality.org
Noel Alicia / Gay Men's Health Crisis / Phone: 212.367.1216 /
noela@gmhc.org

DHS Issues Proposed Regulations Which Further Restrict Travel for
HIV-Positive Foreign Nationals

Proposal contradicts directive to ease regulations

Thursday, November 15, 2007, New York, NY - The Department of Homeland
Security (DHS) issued proposed regulations which purport to offer a
"streamlined," "categorical" waiver for HIV-positive visitors from other
countries.  Under current immigration law, any foreign national who tests
positive for HIV is "inadmissible," meaning he is barred from permanent
residence and even short term travel in the United States.  There are
waivers available to this rule, but obtaining them has always been
difficult.

On World AIDS Day last year, President Bush announced his intention to
create a streamlined process for foreign travelers with HIV to enter the
United States more easily.  Currently the United States is one of only 13
countries in the world, including Iraq, Saudi Arabia, and Sudan, which ban
travel for individuals who are HIV-positive.  Now, almost a year later,
DHS has proposed regulations which would make it even harder to get a
short-term waiver.

"Unfortunately, despite using the terms 'streamlined' and 'categorical,'
in reality these regulations are neither," said Victoria Neilson, Legal
Director of Immigration Equality.  Under the new rules, a visitor would
need to travel with all the medication he would need during his stay in
the U.S., prove that he has medical insurance that is accepted in the U.S.
and would cover any medical contingency, and prove that he won't engage in
behavior that might put the American public at risk.  The maximum term of
the waiver would be 30 days.

"More than two decades into this epidemic, the United States continues to
stigmatize people with HIV and treat this illness unlike any other virus,"
Neilson continued.  "Creating insurmountable hurdles to travel does
nothing to protect the American public from HIV."

The new regulations purport to speed up the waiver application process
because consular officers would be empowered to make decisions on waiver
applications without seeking DHS sign off.  However, by using this
"streamlined" application process, waiver applicants would have to agree
to give up the ability to apply for any change in status while in the
U.S., including applying for legal permanent residence.

"As written, the rule could leave individuals with HIV who obtain asylum
in the U.S. in a permanent limbo; forever barred from obtaining legal
permanent residence, and therefore cut-off from services, benefits, and
employment opportunities," said Nancy Ordover, Assistant Director of
Research and Federal Affairs for Gay Men's Health Crisis.  "It seems very
disingenuous that the government is claiming to make things easier for
people with HIV, but it's really compelling them to forfeit their rights."

There is a 30 day comment period ending December 6, 2007 before DHS will
issue a final rule.

Immigration Equality is a national organization that works to end
discrimination in U.S. immigration law, to reduce the negative impact of
that law on the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and
HIV-positive people, and to help obtain asylum for those persecuted in
their home country based on their sexual orientation, transgender identity
or HIV-status.

Gay Men's Health Crisis (GMHC) is a not-for-profit, volunteer-supported
and community-based organization committed to national leadership in the
fight against AIDS.  Our mission is to reduce the spread of HIV disease,
help people with HIV maintain and improve their health and independence,
and keep the prevention, treatment and cure of HIV an national and local
priority.  In fulfilling this mission, we will remain true to our heritage
by fighting homophobia and affirming the individual dignity of all gay men
and lesbians.  We provide services and programs to over 15,000 men, women
and families that are living with or affected by HIV/AIDS in New York
City.  For more information, please visit www.gmhc.org.

Andy Velez

Offline marc11864

  • Member
  • Posts: 440
  • I apologize for nothing!
Re: Making it easier for HIV+ travelers to enter the US: Another Bush Lie
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2007, 05:53:08 PM »
Hate to say I told ya so but..

That man needs to go. I can't believe the apathy here in the U.S. these days. It's really time for a Revolution!
Let us cavort like the Greeks of old! You know the ones I mean.

Offline Jody

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  • Posts: 1,825
Re: Making it easier for HIV+ travelers to enter the US: Another Bush Lie
« Reply #2 on: November 16, 2007, 08:15:27 AM »

The fact that the Bush-Cheney administration has pandered to the most conservative elements of the Republican party rears its ugly head again…This prejudiced policy has not just cost us with our image in the world as good folks have not taken their vacations here but also we have lost many conventions that would have come here due to this short-sighted policy.  So morally and economically this is just plain dumb!!!

To have a policy that shows such foolish bias toward the HIV+, a policy similar only to those in place in repressive nations such as Sudan and Saudi Arabia, is staggering in its stupidity and mean-spiritedness.

But time and  again conservatives, in their policy making, have looked down on Americans and our counterparts in the world as stupid people, incapable of making our own decisions and simply living amongst our fellow citizens in peace and happiness.  Shame on them and hopefully by January 2009, for the next inauguration, we will have new, intelligent and compassionate leadership in place…We can only hope!!!

Jody
"Wake up to find out that you are the eyes of the world".
 "Try to discover that you are the song that the morning brings."

Grateful Dead

Offline pozniceguy

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,181
  • Niceguy Dallas
Re: Making it easier for HIV+ travelers to enter the US: Another Bush Lie
« Reply #3 on: November 16, 2007, 12:11:33 PM »
I keep hearing that the president is responsible for the problems with letting HIV+ people into this country but we really need to see who/ when this all came about..it was former administrations that put all this in place...especially the part that put it into the law........since the congress is now and has been a Democratic majority they should be able to "fix " the problem..... the President cannot change the law but Congress can...what have they done?  what will they do?  why wait until next years elections???  getting a new president of any party will not change the situation with the congress....they still have the authority/ control needed to create/ change laws and we should be pressing them to do so, not just Badmouthing the president who has no such authority.
Follow up on some of the initiatives that have been proposed in other threads...write to the committees and your representatives....let them know what you want....if you feel compelled to bad mouth anyone at least aim it at the real perpetrators ....and then write to your representatives....

Nick
remember the good times...honor the past but don't live there
Le stelle la notte sono grandie luminose, nel cuore profondo del Texas

Offline scud44

  • Member
  • Posts: 393
  • I am watching you
Re: Making it easier for HIV+ travelers to enter the US: Another Bush Lie
« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2007, 09:41:41 PM »
The original legislation dates back to the days of Ronnie Reagun, when he declared at an AIDS convention that no one could enter the country who had HIV-Aids.
I for one would love to visit parts of your great country and as I have private health insurance and can obtain my tablets well before i would enter the country, it would seem easy.
But alas, I have been told by the great clerks at the USA consulate in Melbourne that I cannot go, simply because I have some minor complications affecting my health on top of HIV.
I guess that the wish to travel on a cable car in Sanfrancisco is now all but a dream, and my desire to return to Hawaii again is out of the question too.
It looks like I'll have to spend my money elsewhere - sorry Mr. Bush

Regards
Scud
Australia - (which is also hard to get into!!!)
CD4 = 110 - 30 July 2007 - 10%
VL = 139000 - 30 July 2007
CD4 = 252 - 6th August 2007
VL = 16400 - 23rd August 2007
CD4 = 240 - 23rd August 2007
VL = 400 4th Sept 2007
CD4 = 96 - 4th Sept 2007
CD4 = 120 18th Sept 2007
VL = 386000 19th Nov 2007
CD4 = 160 19th Nov 2007
CD4 = 110 10th Jan 2008
CD4 = 311 29th Jan 2008
VL = <50 29th Jan 2008
CD4 = 148 2nd April 2008
VL = 110,000 2nd April 2008
June 2010 and nothing has improved

Offline ademas

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,151
Re: Making it easier for HIV+ travelers to enter the US: Another Bush Lie
« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2007, 10:15:27 PM »
Australia - (which is also hard to get into!!!)

Seriously?
I didn't know that.
I traveled to AU with all my meds in tow.  I even got the full search in customs.
They didn't say a word about my meds (but they did confiscate my beef jerky... >:()

Offline scud44

  • Member
  • Posts: 393
  • I am watching you
Re: Making it easier for HIV+ travelers to enter the US: Another Bush Lie
« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2007, 10:21:47 PM »
You were lucky - they are making life a little harder now - you must have come through on a day that the Customs boys and girls were hungry and the beef jerky was all they needed!!!!

Scuddles
CD4 = 110 - 30 July 2007 - 10%
VL = 139000 - 30 July 2007
CD4 = 252 - 6th August 2007
VL = 16400 - 23rd August 2007
CD4 = 240 - 23rd August 2007
VL = 400 4th Sept 2007
CD4 = 96 - 4th Sept 2007
CD4 = 120 18th Sept 2007
VL = 386000 19th Nov 2007
CD4 = 160 19th Nov 2007
CD4 = 110 10th Jan 2008
CD4 = 311 29th Jan 2008
VL = <50 29th Jan 2008
CD4 = 148 2nd April 2008
VL = 110,000 2nd April 2008
June 2010 and nothing has improved

Offline jack

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,578
  • fomerly the loser known as Jake
Re: Making it easier for HIV+ travelers to enter the US: Another Bush Lie
« Reply #7 on: November 19, 2007, 05:49:05 AM »
Sounds like a move in the right direction.  This is a very difficult situation. How do argue the importance of stopping the spread of this virus unless it offends certain groups or people. How do you put travelers rights above the safety of the US public? I personally see no problem with HIVers from other countries visiting here.
I read articles and posts here all the time about the rise in HIV infection worldwide, keeping people with HIV out of our country is one of the few things the government can do right. The government has proved over and over that safe sex education is not the perfect solution, it only makes sense that the less HIV people we have means the less chance of more infections.
Its a joke anyways, the government does not do HIV testing at customs.  Because of our sensitivities TSA is wasting billions searching all US citizens rather than those who are most likely to pose a threat, they are not gonna waste time looking for HIVers from other countries.  You have a greater chance of being struck by lightning than being stopped for being HIV positive.

Offline mjmel

  • Member
  • Posts: 2,069
Re: Making it easier for HIV+ travelers to enter the US: Another Bush Lie
« Reply #8 on: November 19, 2007, 06:38:52 AM »
I agree with what pozniceguy stated. However, the point of the post is to highlight that Mr. Bush did NOT follow up on his statement declaring that he'd make it easier for HIV+ folks to enter the USA, as visitors. (Was a politically attractive statement to make on World Aids Day though.) What has happened so far is the usual bureaucratic runaround. The current suggested 'adjustments'  of the current laws on the books offers nothing. Crumbs.

Allowing HIV+ visitors into the USA will not increase the infection rate in the US. We haven't figured out yet what will stop the infection rate anywhere/worldwide, really. Initially, in panic of the impending US epidemic, the belief was that this particular measure would stop the spread of AIDS on United States soils. Alas, we are not separate from the pandemic. We need to be nicer to our foreign friends (what little we have, anymore).

Canada: Yes, I'm glad to know we can all travel there. Happy Happy Happy about that....BUT don't think I could become a citizen there. They are rather selective about who is allowed Canadian citizenship just like in the USA--or any other country. Albeit, no country wants the added weight of HIV healthcare tacked on to their already taxed social health programs. No shock value here, is there.

my two cents,
Mike

(edit: follow up spellcheck)
« Last Edit: November 19, 2007, 06:40:23 AM by mjmel »

Offline BT65

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  • Posts: 9,955
Re: Making it easier for HIV+ travelers to enter the US: Another Bush Lie
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2007, 08:39:22 AM »
I remember an article awhile back, and I think it was from Poz, about US customs asking people about their sexual identity.  Does anyone remember that?
I've never killed anyone, but I frequently get satisfaction reading the obituary notices.-Clarence Darrow

Offline Cerrid

  • Member
  • Posts: 499
  • only as good as your last haircut
Re: Making it easier for HIV+ travelers to enter the US: Another Bush Lie
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2007, 03:16:36 PM »
"Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me.
I lift my lamp beside the golden door."

Oh yeah! Pull the other one!  ;D



"Boredom is always counterrevolutionary. Always." (Guy Debord)

Offline jack

  • Member
  • Posts: 1,578
  • fomerly the loser known as Jake
Re: Making it easier for HIV+ travelers to enter the US: Another Bush Lie
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2007, 03:56:11 PM »
I dont understand how anyone can make the statement that allowing more HIV positive people into our country will not increase HIV infection. That makes absolutely no sense.
I really dont think this law or new law will hurt our vacation business. The US dollar is racing towards the peso. The rest of the world will flock to the US this year and spend BILLIONS.
Is it legal for customs to ask someone their sexual preferences? Doesnt seem like it should be. We cant even racial profile terrorists for screening purposes because we might offend someone,, so I dont think they are gonna waste time and money looking for HIV positive visitors.
I still can't believe so many here want these same fuckups who work in government bureaucracies to control your health needs. It wont be free and will be a disaster.

Offline David_CA

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  • Posts: 3,246
  • Joined: March 2006
Re: Making it easier for HIV+ travelers to enter the US: Another Bush Lie
« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2007, 04:06:47 PM »
I dont understand how anyone can make the statement that allowing more HIV positive people into our country will not increase HIV infection. That makes absolutely no sense.

It sure doesn't.  I say take 'em out back and just shoot 'em... citizens as well as those who visit.  That'll reduce HIV / AIDS numbers.  We allow people to drive, which causes accidents.  We allow people to eat fatty foods, with increases cardiac problems.  We allow people to vote, which puts idiots in office.

Surely allowing a person on a tourist visa (say, for 30 days) won't be the end of us.  Who's to say that all these potential visitors are just waiting around the corner to infect a US citizen?  Surely the fact that people are having unprotected sex or using unclean needles is what's generally causing our HIV rates to rise, not HIV+ people sneaking into the US.

David
Black Friday 03-03-2006
03-23-06 CD4 359 @27.4% VL 75,938
06-01-06 CD4 462 @24.3% VL > 100,000
08-15-06 CD4 388 @22.8% VL >  "
10-21-06 CD4 285 @21.9% VL >  "
  Atripla started 12-01-2006
01-08-07 CD4 429 @26.8% VL 1872!
05-08-07 CD4 478 @28.1% VL 740
08-03-07 CD4 509 @31.8% VL 370
11-06-07 CD4 570 @30.0% VL 140
02-21-08 CD4 648 @32.4% VL 600
05-19-08 CD4 695 @33.1% VL < 48 undetectable!
08-21-08 CD4 725 @34.5%
11-11-08 CD4 672 @39.5%
02-11-09 CD4 773 @36.8%
05-11-09 CD4 615 @36.2%
08-19-09 CD4 770 @38.5%
11-19-09 CD4 944 @33.7%
02-17-10 CD4 678 @39.9%  
06-03-10 CD4 768 @34.9%
09-21-10 CD4 685 @40.3%
01-10-11 CD4 908 @36.3%
05-23-11 CD4 846 @36.8% VL 80
02-13-12 CD4 911 @41.4% VL<20
You must be the change you want to see in the world.  Mahatma Gandhi

Offline Dachshund

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Re: Making it easier for HIV+ travelers to enter the US: Another Bush Lie
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2007, 04:14:42 PM »
I dont understand how anyone can make the statement that allowing more HIV positive people into our country will not increase HIV infection. That makes absolutely no sense.


Do you have a link proving that countries that do allow HIV positive people to visit show an increase in the rate of infection?

Offline pozniceguy

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  • Niceguy Dallas
Re: Making it easier for HIV+ travelers to enter the US: Another Bush Lie
« Reply #14 on: November 19, 2007, 05:20:13 PM »
I think this is the third or fourth thread that is dancing around the issue of HIV+ travellers to the USA....the real answer is to stop agreeing that it is a "stupid", "nonsensical", impractical way to control the spread of HIV and do something constructive...other than bashing the President..as with many Politicians he has just so  much "political capital" to spend...apparently this issue is not high enough on the agenda to rate any of that "capital"...you can make it higher by contacting your Representatives.....every contact , especially written personal ones..count as the voice of multiple votes...If you want action to change  this situation  then look in the mirror and see who can start the change wheels rolling....

Nick
remember the good times...honor the past but don't live there
Le stelle la notte sono grandie luminose, nel cuore profondo del Texas

 


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