Homeland Security Not Lifting HIV Travel Ban

President Bush and Congress this summer voted to repeal a ban on HIV-positive travelers.

The move was hailed as a huge success by activists on both sides of the political divide, particularly within gay communities.

Such celebrations, however, were premature, because the Department of Homeland Security announced yesterday that it is “streamlining” the process, but will not be lifting the ban entirely.

From an Immigration Equality press release:

[The DHS says] it will issue regulations which purport to “streamline” the waiver application process for HIV-positive short-term visitors. The move comes nearly two years after President Bush directed the agency to streamline the process and fails to follow Congress’ mandate to end the ban.

“The timing of these regulations is deeply troubling,” said Victoria Neilson, Legal Director of Immigration Equality. “In July, Congress issued a bipartisan message to this Administration – remove HIV as a barrier to travel and immigration. Instead of simply ending the HIV travel ban, the administration is again treating HIV differently from any other medical condition.”

Regulatory change is needed to completely lift the ban; meanwhile, the HIV travel ban continues to be enforced. The regulations issued yesterday do not end the ban.

Maybe the DHS thinks HIV-positive people are terrorists, or something…