Policy & Politics
House Democrats Send Letter to Homeland Security Secretary Chertoff Objecting to New Rules for HIV-Positive People Visiting U.S.
December 11, 2007
Thirty House Democrats on Monday sent a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff objecting to new regulations for HIV-positive people visiting the U.S., the AP/Google.com reports. The lawmakers, along with gay rights groups, say the proposed rules might end up creating more barriers for HIV-positive visitors to the U.S. (Werner, AP/Google.com, 12/11). President Bush in December 2006 requested the waiver process that enables HIV-positive people to visit the U.S. be streamlined with new administrative rules. The new rules, proposed by the Department of Homeland Security, would remove a requirement that applications for a waiver be reviewed by the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services and instead would leave waiver decisions to U.S. consular offices worldwide.
Valdes said the new rules do provide a streamlined process for HIV-positive people to visit the U.S. Valdes did not comment on the letter but said the department will review it and respond. A public comment period on the new rules expired Thursday, but Valdes could not say when a final rule will be published, the AP/Google.com reports.
According to the Department of State, 139 people were found ineligible to travel to the U.S. on a nonimmigrant visa because of having a communicable disease in fiscal year 2006. It added that 127 of these applicants challenged the finding and were able to obtain a visa, the AP/Google.com reports. Because these numbers apply to all communicable diseases and not just HIV/AIDS, the state department cannot provide a figure for only HIV/AIDS cases. The numbers also do not take into account people who were discouraged from applying for a visa because of their HIV-positive status or who did not report their status, according to the AP/Google.com (AP/Google.com, 12/11).
The letter is available online.
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.