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Author Topic: URGENT: Call to Action - Comments due Dec 6th on DHS Rules re: HIV Travel Ban  (Read 7438 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline emeraldize

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Thanks for visiting this thread. This is a time-sensitive appeal. If you are a U.S. citizen, you have until December 6th to make your comments known on the proposed DHS rules regarding the present HIV Travel Ban. E-mail is fastest, so this post is intended to inspire you to register your comment in the appropriate government forum for this. There is a second issue which is not time-sensitive, in a separate thread, regarding Congresswoman Barbara Lee’s proposed legislation for the repeal of the HIV Travel Ban.  After you’re done with this thread, please go there.

First, to get background and insight, an article written 11-20-07 (the news was first made known around November 5th) in the Gay City News, use the following link: http://www.gaycitynews.com/site/news.cfm?newsid=19044628&BRD=2729&PAG=461&dept_id=568864&rfi=6

To review the AM thread that addressed this, go to http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=16945.msg215365#msg215365

Important: To see a sampling of the ONLY 35 public comments (as of 9 p.m. 11-25-07) posted on the website, scroll down. They are copied verbatim and may help you decide what you would like to post. 

When you are ready to post, Go to http://www.regulations.gov/fdmspublic/component/main

Then, go to Optional Step 4, select Docket ID from drop down menu and in the blank space next to it paste the following:  USCBP-2007-0084

Hit Submit

Then, go to the farthest column on the right, click on the yellow cartoon bubble and you will then be linked to a form into which you will type your comments.

If you wish to incorporate Tim Horn’s and Englishgirl's assertions and which he posted after reading DHS’ proposed changes in your comments, copy/paste the following:

1) The development of "HIV visa" application forms that differ from the I-601 "waiver of excludability" used to screen foreigners with other communicable diseases.
2) The development of a centralized, U.S.-based office staffed by individuals who have undergone extensive HIV training to review all applications (thereby limiting the risk of prejudice and bias among untrained staff at U.S. consulates around the world).
3) Eliminate the need for in-person interviews for HIV-positive people in all countries, regardless of whether or not the country is participating in the U.S. visa waiver program.
4) Strict policies and procedures to safeguard confidential medical information.
5) Strengthening of the "Specific Conditions of Admission, Control and Return" (Part IX.B of the proposed rule) language so that "controlled state of HIV infection" is not meant to apply to individuals who may have detectable viral loads or are not currently on antiretroviral therapy.
6)The inclusion of people of positive HIV status in the current visa waiver programme (amendment of the legislation and the I-94W form to exclude HIV from the list of communicable diseases).


A sampling of what's been posted among the 35, to date, public comments.

General Comment:public comment  i oppose giving any visas for aliens with hiv. none should be given. the law as it stands keeping them out is a good, sound, healthful one. there is no reason to change it. 

this agency cant handle any more visitors to the us. the people they let in now lie and say they will leave in a certain period of time, NEVER LEAVE AND THIS AGENCY LETS THEM GET AWAY WITH THIS KIND OF LIE. AMERICAN IS OVERWHELMED WITH THE LIARS THAT SHOULD HAVE LEFT TEN YEARS AGO AND ARE STILL HERE BECAUSE THIS AGENCY IS COMPLETELY NOT UP TO KEEPING AMERICA SAFE FROM PEOPLE WHO SNEAK IN.

THIS AGENCY SIMPLY CANNOT BE TRUSTED TO KEEP AMERICA WITH
ONLY LAWFUL IMMIGRANTS THESE DAYS. THIS AGENCY NEEDS
COMPLETE OVERHAUL. 

General Comment:
This change is long overdue.  Stopping people with HIV from visiting the U.S. does nothing to stop the spread of HIV in America, and it makes us look bad. 

General Comment:
These regulations are unnecessary and outrageously discriminatory.  They do not protect the U.S. public from a disease that already exists in millions of fellow citizens. 

It is ironic and hypocritical that I, as an HIV-positive U.S. citizen, can travel to Canada and the European Union, but that an HIV-positive Canadian or European traveling to the U.S. can be denied entry.  While the most odious provisions are unenforced (according to news reports), the fact that they can be selectively enforced--and have been--bespeaks an illogical, capricious and ideologically-based regulation that has no basis in medicine and law.

General Comment:
Yes, do please relax the rules so that HIV-positive persons are allowed to visit the US.
Thank you,
Kt

General Comment:
I stongly support the enactment of DHS policy 62593, which would allow HIV positive individuals entry into this country.  This policy was created during the histeria of the 80s, when people didn't knwo what was going on.  This cannot be
said for today.  HIV cannot be contacted thru casual contact and individuals visiting the US pose no risk to the public.    Please enact this new change for the fairness and benefit for millions of HIV positive individuals in the world today.
Thanks you.

General Comment:
In Reference to Docket # USCBP-2007-0084 - Issuance of a Visa and
Authorization for Temporary Admission into the United States for Certain
Nonimmigrant Aliens Afflicted with HIV Infection

I strongly believ if aHIV Infected person from another Country wants to Visit the US, and are under Medical Care and / or medication, they should be allowed to visit the US.

General Comment:
The proposed regulations are a step in the right direction.  Ultimately, there should be no restrictions on travel to the US for HIV infected individuals as long as they obey our laws while visiting.  All restrictions are based on fear and phobia and are not grounded in science nor do they offer the US citizens anything but an illusion of protection.


General Comment:
I SUPPORT the change in federal rules contained in USCBP-2007-0084.  First, the U.S. economy will benefit by removing an unnecessary barrier to tourism.Second, this action will help reduce worldwide stigma associated with HIV disease.  Such stimga is a major impediment to HIV prevention programs in the United States and other countries.

General Comment:
I am writing to support changes to allow HIV infected individuals to enter the U.S.
for tourism and work-related travel as long as they have proper identification, passports, visas, etc. Please do not deny access to our great country to individuals infected with HIV who would otherwise be welcome.
Thank you.
Sharon Blair

General Comment:
Even when this is a step in the right direction, this is not enough. Having to disclose your intimacy and privacy to other countries simply to go on vacation to that country is simply unacceptable. Plus HIV is not such a disease that can be transmitted by air, but requires very specific conditions.

With meds available today, it is very likely this disease can be managed.
Additionally, this old rule doesn't recognize that i was the United States who
became the number one exporter of the disease in the 80s.

Changing this to simply allow HIV+ people to enter into the country for
non-immigrant purposes without specific Visas, besides the requirements for
everyone else is the right way to do it.

It is a pity that such a great nation like the United States still has this kind
of policies that are retrograde, and do not recognize a reality.
Anonymous



The following is the blurb POZ included in its online version.
November 7, 2007
Speak Out About the U.S. HIV Travel Ban
The United States Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is considering amending existing regulations that prohibit the entry of HIV-positive people into the United States. Current U.S. immigration law bars HIV-positive immigrants, tourists, foreign students and business people entry into the country. The proposed amendment, initiated by President Bush on World AIDS Day 2006, would allow HIV-positive visitors to enter the country on short-term business or tourist visas, allowing HIV-positive people to come to the U.S. for short-term, nonimmigrant stays.
 
Though the travel ban would still be in place, the amendment would allow HIV-positive people to enter the country without being subject to the complex, case-by-case process currently needed for an entry waiver. Visitors would be expected to comply with conditions and requirements to “minimize…the risk to public health.” These conditions could include, for example, having to take antiretroviral medications if medically appropriate and “avoiding behavior” than could transmit infection.
The DHS invites comments, recommendations, views and arguments from the public surrounding the proposed amendment. Comments must be received before December 6, 2007. You can submit comments online at http://www.regulations.gov


Please copy and paste this entire post to send to friends whom you believe would be interested in commenting.


edited to include Englishgirl's request
« Last Edit: November 26, 2007, 08:50:17 AM by emeraldize »

Offline englishgirl

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  • ACT NOW TO CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE TRAVEL BAN
hey everyone
could you please also add in that you wold like to see:
The inclusion of people of positive HIV status in the current visa waiver programme (amendment of the legislation and the I-94W form to exclude HIV from the list of communicable diseases).

thanks!
ACT NOW TO CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE TRAVEL BAN:
http://campaigning.tht.org.uk/cms/cmsloader?WfJVLp&view=11,301,1385,0,-html

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=17352.0


"I'm not keen on the idea of the afterlife - not without knowing who else will be there and what the entertainment will be. Personally I'd rather just take a rest." Oscar Berger, PWA: Looking AIDS in the Face, 1996. RIP.

Offline emeraldize

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Englishgirl

I added your request as the 6th item in the list for copy/paste ease. Thank you!

I'm hopeful people will copy the whole text block and e-mail it to their friends, family, medical team members, ASO contacts and more, with an invitation to participate in this important issue.

If this were to become a viral e-mail, in the next few days we could raise the post count on the public comment website significantly.

Em

Offline englishgirl

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  • ACT NOW TO CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE TRAVEL BAN
thanks hon!

ps ive already tried to start a viral email here in the UK as well...
ACT NOW TO CAMPAIGN AGAINST THE TRAVEL BAN:
http://campaigning.tht.org.uk/cms/cmsloader?WfJVLp&view=11,301,1385,0,-html

http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=17352.0


"I'm not keen on the idea of the afterlife - not without knowing who else will be there and what the entertainment will be. Personally I'd rather just take a rest." Oscar Berger, PWA: Looking AIDS in the Face, 1996. RIP.

Offline ubotts

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thanks for posting that article..I joined as a member due to your post..
I think this is a bunch of bull, coming right out of monkey boys mouth(Bush)

I dislike Bush so much, that I shaved mine off..and thats the truth... :P
Live Love Laugh and dance like no ones watching.
Laughter is the best medicine, so try to have a laugh everyday..Even if your not feeling your best, think about something that was funny at one time in your life and work with it..   :o)

Offline emeraldize

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  • Posts: 3,335
Ubotts: Well, before you shave your head, I hope you'll go to the website to register your comments before December 6th on the proposal. And, on that note...

I wanted to let everyone know that submitting comments does not guarantee immediate visibility. Earlier today, I sent my submission and when it did not appear, I wrote the help desk. Here's the volley...

Entered on 11/26/2007 at 11:01:48 by helpdesk person:
The comments are not posted automatically.  The docket manager will review the comments for appropriateness and applicability before posting the comments.  Each agency has its own timeframe for posting comments.  Could be a few days or a week.

Entered on 11/26/2007 at 10:20:42 by me:
Hello: Simple question. I submitted a comment on a DHS proposal this a.m. and wondered if all posts are viewed before being posted publicly. I suspect yes. Can you tell me, on average, how long does it take before one submits a comment and it appears on the list and is viewable?
Thank you.

Offline leatherman

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  • Posts: 6,059
  • Google and HIV meds are Your Friends
Important: To see a sampling of the ONLY 35 public comments (as of 9 p.m. 11-25-07) posted on the website, scroll down. They are copied verbatim and may help you decide what you would like to post.

Do you know how often these comments are updated on that site?

When I submitted my comment today, it still read a total of 35 comments but said the last comment had been on 11-21-07. That's four days prior to the date you listed. weird, huh?  ::)
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


chart from 1992-2013; updated 2/09/13  Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Offline emeraldize

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Hi Mikie!

What's even more weird is you were posting your question while I was posting your answer!! :o

Em

Offline leatherman

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  • Google and HIV meds are Your Friends
What's even more weird is you were posting your question while I was posting your answer!!

I swear I hear the Twilight Zone theme playing. Can't you hear it too? ::) ;D

I visit some other (political/news) forums, where comments are vetted before being publicly displayed. And content doesn't necessarily mean it gets displayed either. On those sites -like this government site, without a counter of total posts or something, it's hard to get a sense of how the tide is turning on a certain issue.

It just seemed some of the members here were getting disturbed as this kind of site can make it look like no one is taking any actions about an issue. We may never be able to tell exactly what kind of response this issue ever receives from the public if all comments aren't posted (and in a timely manner).   ;)

Thanks for checking!
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


chart from 1992-2013; updated 2/09/13  Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Offline emeraldize

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You're welcome.

It just seemed some of the members here were getting disturbed as this kind of site can make it look like no one is taking any actions about an issue

Mikie -- Did I miss something? or someone's comments about this? Can you point me in the right direction?   Em

Offline gerry

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  • Posts: 522
  • Joined AM Feb 2003
It's just been updated.  There are now 60 comments with a bunch of them dated today (including Em's).

Offline emeraldize

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  • Posts: 3,335
Gerry
Thanks for the update.
I'm surprised they put up so many so quickly!
Em

Offline gerry

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  • Posts: 522
  • Joined AM Feb 2003
Em,

I think you woke them up from turkey stupor with your e-mail inquiry today. 

I would suggest that for those who have difficulty navigating the regulations.gov site, to post their comments here (specify if anonymous or with what name to use with the comment) and someone can help upload those by copying and pasting; then reply to that poster once it's been uploaded with the tracking number

G.

Offline leatherman

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  • Google and HIV meds are Your Friends
Did I miss something? or someone's comments about this? Can you point me in the right direction?
Sure thing ;) Cause i see issue is happening all around the threads.

Regarding the Travel Ban threads, below are two quotes where people were taking issue with people's actions or in-actions.

Disclaimer: although I have no plans to attend an AMG (I'm just very poor, very sick guy in the USA who couldn't travel around the world before he got sick, much less 15 yrs later receiving only $450 a month in SS Disabilty.) I do think it's great that so many people even try to reach out across the world to meet and greet with their online friends. Even though I can't attend this kind of get together, as an American citizen, I can at the very least, help to get this ban repealed to make it easier for my friends here on the forums to get to meet up some day.

certainly very few people stated that they were committed to trying to change things. . . basically i barely come to this site now cos im so upset by it all and an issue that shouldve brought us together has done nothing but upset me to the point of making me ill and make me feel like i should just crawl back under whatever hole you all think i belong in.

I'm admittedly a little saddened to see there has been limited response or pledges of members to write Congressional members about the ban. 

I write and email (although they are beginning to reject generic form replies) my State and Federal reps ALL the time about ALL sorts of issues (don't get me started about the illegal immigrants! This is an HIV/AIDS forum. LOL). Next time I suggest someone set up a poll to count those who have contacted their governmental representatives. Nobody told me I should report back doing what you asked me to do. ;) I think we're all on the same side of many of these issues.

I thought killofoile responded the best about this issue

As to the comments about trying to end the ban in the US: please do not paint all Americans with the same broad brush.  There are thousands of people pushing to end this ban, but you must consider that we have a homophobic White House, almost half of Congress and half of the American public still link HIV with being gay.  Wishing it was not true does not change our reality.  This ban is a remnant of the 20th Century and it takes time to build a consensus to affect change.   Assuming that members here are not simultaneously trying to end the ban is insulting, in my opinion, to the fine people who frequent these forums.

Before going on I would like to thank all the members in all their respective countries who are working to further education, change outdated policies, and end discrimination.

A while ago I took some heat in a thread (I 'lost' that link ;) ) because I said this is what I think people should be doing instead of wasting their time arguing/debating in these forums. While you are financially stable, while you are well, while you are not on meds, while you are not on government assistance, you should be doing everything possible to further HIV education and prevention, change the laws, and end the stigma cause it's a helluva lot harder to be that pro-active when you're poor and/or sick.

While some people are arguing about flying around the world, I got up this morning, took my meds, puked, and then spent about 2% of my monthly income (a book of stamps, envelopes, and paper) sending physical letters to my government trying to get my voice heard and things changed. I say these things, not to brag or to be bitchy; but I say them to get you "incited". If you don't work now to make things better in the future, it'll be YOU who is hurt in the future.

Relating this issue (of not seeing enough responses or actions) to another thread - about ENDA - people there were upset that laws and attitudes weren't being changed fast enough. Some of them seemed to be ignoring the vaste amount of political changes that have  already been made just getting to where we are today.

If it means delaying the bill a few years, then so be it. I think we can all wait a little bit longer if it means getting EVERYONE protection.

I wonder if people would be so willing to support this bill if it was one of the the other "letters" being left out instead? if they left out the bisexuals, or the lesbians, would your argument (that it is better for a small number to have rights than no one at all) still feel valid to you?

If trannies aren't good enough to have these protections, then neither are fags and dykes. Obviously fags and dykes need to suffer a bit more pain before they realise this. Either ENDA passes as proposed or it should fail that struggle must start again from scratch.

Politics is about compromise and compromise takes time. In the end, everyone has to give up something they want for the greater good, and no one is totally happy.

Once again, I'll quote killofile (with a few of my own generalizations), as I think this is a good reply to several issues:

please do not paint all Americans with the same broad brush.  There are thousands of people pushing to end this [ban, stigma,legal action], but you must consider that we have a homophobic White House, almost half of Congress and half of the American public still link HIV with being gay or believe that being gay itself is a moral sin/crime.  Wishing it was not true does not change our reality.  This [ban, stigma,legal action] is a remnant of the 20th Century and it takes time to build a consensus to affect change.   Assuming that members here are not simultaneously trying to end the [ban, stigma,legal action] is insulting, in my opinion, to the fine people who frequent these forums.

Best wishes and Best Health!
mikie


P.S.  I won't mention in this post my opinions about how winning the push for faster approval of meds back in the 90s is resulting in lipo and liver problems in the 00s; or that the travel ban on HIV+ people was a better outcome than the government "confinement camp" extreme that some proposed - because those just muddy the issue and would be a total hijack of this thread. LOL Right now I'll just settle for "domestic partnership" legislation rather than another damned "Defense of Marriage Act". Politics makes my head hurt! ROFL
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


chart from 1992-2013; updated 2/09/13  Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Offline leatherman

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I think you woke them up from turkey stupor with your e-mail inquiry today. 

the federal holiday is over and the moderator is back online ;)

our tax $$$ at work :D
leatherman (aka mIkIE)


chart from 1992-2013; updated 2/09/13  Reyataz/Norvir/Truvada

Offline Iggy

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  • Posts: 2,435

Quote
Quote from: Iggy on Yesterday at 11:20:41
I'm admittedly a little saddened to see there has been limited response or pledges of members to write Congressional members about the ban. 

I write and email (although they are beginning to reject generic form replies) my State and Federal reps ALL the time about ALL sorts of issues (don't get me started about the illegal immigrants! This is an HIV/AIDS forum. LOL). Next time I suggest someone set up a poll to count those who have contacted their governmental representatives. Nobody told me I should report back doing what you asked me to do. ;) I think we're all on the same side of many of these issues.


Since you used my quote to lead into this point I think I should clarify something about what I wrote.  I agree that no one on these forums should feel the need to report their actions in lobbying or political activities and no one on these boards has the right to demand a report from others of what they have done to change things.

However, my remark about sadness at the lack of obvious participation (at the time I wrote it) in fighting the ban has its origins in how many people made a point to say (rightfully I might add) that they didn't want to be painted as being in favor of discriminatory U.S. policies just because they can not afford to travel outside the U.S. for the AMG, but don't seem to be willing to make a pledge to write their representatives.

Understand that it might be worth noting that what saddens me is not just my observations of people saying anything on this board but in a follow-up conversation I had with the congresswoman's office.  Though there is no way that they can report to me any official confirmation of numbers of replies to Congress people on the committee, and I can assure you that it is in their interest to have a case for their bill that many people are writing in support of what they want to do, but I was given the impression by the Aide that they have not been notified of receiving any real numbers of mailings - in other words I do question how many people who stated on the Gatherings thread that they were against the U.S. policy only said it for the rhetoric value.

Now the rightful question to ask of me is: Who the hell am I to say anything about whether people give a damn about causes or are actually willing to do anything to fight or if anyone thinks this is a cause worth their time.

It is a good question, one that I asked myself, and the answer came in a biting reminder of something I myself wrote about the boards:
I think all of us forget at times that the primary point of the forums is for support - not popularity - not activism - not even education.  I think we all hope those are all organic outgrowths of the support, but you can't force them on anyone. 

So to answer your point and observation.  No. No one has the right to say that people should be reporting their participation in fighting something and no one has the right to say that you must even fight discrimination to begin with.  But on a message board that has no lack of commentary and posts on any number of subjects ranging from porno to song lyrics, no one has the right to say I am wrong to be saddened by the loss of expressed interest  in matters that really do effect the lives of many of us.


Offline Ric Wilke

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  • I joined AIDSmed.com 10/2002.
General comment here. 

With regard to the following, "The inclusion of people of positive HIV status in the current visa waiver programme (amendment of the legislation and the I-94W form to exclude HIV from the list of communicable diseases)", how can we ask for the exclusion of HIV from the list of communicable diseases?  Last I checked, HIV was a communicable disease.  I don't think I was infected by an "immaculate reception".

I also read the comments as posted on the government site and noticed that some are submitted as Anonymous or without a surname.  This is generally not a good idea as comments so signed usually carry little weight.  If you care enough to post a comment, please take ownership of your comment and sign it.

Just my two cents worth.

 
« Last Edit: November 27, 2007, 07:44:38 AM by Ric Wilke »

Offline emeraldize

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Ric

Thanks for adding the clarification. My one cent here. I signed my comments Emeraldize because the opportunity to do so was available to me and frankly it was the only way to affirm openly in the AMG setting that I had contributed. Very few people know my real name via AMG. My sense of the DHS solicitation is that because it's an ultra-abbreviated time period for collecting public comments, I believe any considered reply will be viewed as serious versus any thoughtless, rant-style post such as the one I copied above in the sampling.

I should add that all sixteen letters sent to the Judiciary committee and the letters sent to my congressional rep and Senators DID include my real name, address, e-mail address, etc. as the online system will not allow one to submit a letter without such information. Even if it did, in that instance, I would still use my real name because they could cross-correlate it to the voter registration list. In that venue, I think verification and non-duplication of submissions is key to its success.

Em

Offline Iggy

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Bump...with one day to go.

Offline emeraldize

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Hi

Vokz posted a link to an article written yesterday by SFGate regarding the DHS proposal and deadline. Go to http://forums.poz.com/index.php?topic=17630.new#new

This is a reminder for some and an invitation for others to go to Post #1 of this thread and the 5th paragraph, " When you're ready to post" where a link enables you to comment on the DHS site. (Edited to add: it is even easier to go to the third item on the first page you see which takes you to Document with a Deadling Expiring Today, click on it and scroll to the 12th item on the list.)

I assure you it's easy to do this comment posting. You are not required to use your real name/surname if you do not wish to do so.

This is the last day to read the background information and post. I'm assuming the cut off would be 11:59 p.m., but have not confirmed this.(edited to add: just sent inquiry to their help desk to confirm)

If you are a US citizen, please consider posting to help change this travel ban. Our "voices" count on this issue which has much to do with education and eliminating stigma for everyone.

Thank you.
Em
« Last Edit: December 06, 2007, 07:35:12 AM by emeraldize »

Offline emeraldize

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received reply:

On the date of expiration, the comment period expires at 11:59:59 pm Eastern Time.
 
Lon
Regulations.gov Helpdesk

Offline emeraldize

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Reminder: You have roughly 30 minutes in which you could add your comments to DHS' website. Thanks!

 


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