Biden admin bans Africa travel over new COVID variant but doesn’t shut U.S.-Mexico border

The Biden administration is being criticized after opting to ban travel to the U.S. from eight southern African nations as a highly contagious new variant of COVID-19 spreads but not opting to close U.S. borders, especially with Mexico where new migrant caravans are making their way north.

On Friday, the administration announced a travel ban on South Africa, where the latest version of the virus, Omnicron, has been identified and is spreading. Health officials in the country warn that it is the most contagious variant to date.

“According to the WHO, preliminary evidence suggests an increased risk of reinfection with this variant, as compared to other variants of concern.  Further, the WHO reports that the number of cases of this variant appears to be increasing in almost all provinces in the Republic of South Africa,” said an executive order issued by President Biden. Countries on the travel ban include the Republic of Botswana, the Kingdom of Eswatini, the Kingdom of Lesotho, the Republic of Malawi, the Republic of Mozambique, the Republic of Namibia, the Republic of South Africa, and the Republic of Zimbabwe.

But the president’s decision drew no small amount of mocking and derision from critics, especially Republicans who have been pressing him and his administration to reimplement border security policies from the previous administration that were credited with severely reducing illegal immigration.

“Biden has just announced a travel ban on 8 African nations due to the new Omicron variant of COVID. Suddenly travel bans aren’t xenophobic? Does this also apply to the illegals at the Southern Border or are they exempt as usual?” Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) sniped on Friday after the administration made the announcement.

“hahahaa Biden announces travel ban for South Africa. How about a TRAVEL BAN at our Southern Border,” wrote another Twitter user.

“The new variant is so dangerous that the USPS, Congress and several hundred thousand immigrants crossing our Southern border are exempt from the mandates, but we absolutely must put a travel ban on folks from South Africa,” said another.

Still another user noted: “This is so very #Racist! #BidensAmerica will be judged by the rest of the world! Why is there no travel ban on the Southern Border?”

Meanwhile, conservative commentator Benny Johnson tweeted screengrabs of comments from then-Democratic presidential contenders Joe Biden and Kamala Harris when then-President Donald Trump implemented the country’s first COVID-related travel bans.

“Today the Biden Administration announced a Travel Ban on South Africa and 7 other African nations over the ‘New COVID Variant,” he wrote. “Here was Joe Biden and Kamala Harris when Trump banned Travel.”

“Stop beating around the bush, ye of the left. Just call out Bidden & Kamala like you called out Trump when he issued a travel ban. Suddenly the language has changed to ‘so South Africa is getting punished’? By who? Don’t they have a name?” Nairobi-based writer T.R. Okuna posted.

“Trump was called Racist for Travel ban on China by Democrats and now what about Biden travel ban on South Africa,” added Indian lawyer Navroop Singh.

Missy Halsey


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