Senator John Kerry proved himself useful last week. The Democrat joined forces with Oregonian Republican Gordon Smith to introduce legislation easing America’s restrictions on HIV positive travelers. Those restrictions include nearly blanket bans on infected foreigners.
Kerry and Smith released a joint statement, saying:
The United States has one of the harshest restrictions in the world on HIV-positive immigrants.
It’s incredible that the federal government still tolerates a ban that not only restricts AIDS experts with the disease but also refugees who are seeking asylum in our country. My legislation will end this draconian law. The attempts to fix this law through a complex waiver system, while admirable, still don’t do anything to rectify the discriminatory underlying problem. That is why I have introduced this legislation to permanently strike this unfair provision from the books.
Kerry and Smith’s plan would give broader power to the Department of Health and Human Services, which originally managed such matters. Congress took control in 1993 with the Immigration and Nationality Act.
So it’s really not that monumental, but it’s better than nothing.