Sen. Marco Rubio announced Monday he will introduce legislation to create a temporary ban on new visas for nationals of the countries of Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone. The Florida Republican says he will introduce the bill in November when the Senate returns.
While many Republicans have called for travel restrictions to fight Ebola, Rubio appears to be the first senator to announced an actual piece of legislation.
The ban would remain in place until the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention declares that the Ebola outbreak has been contained and could be extended to other countries if the virus spreads.
Rubio’s office said the legislation would exempt people coming to the United States to train to prevent the virus’ spread.
“The most effective way to combat this deadly virus is to address it at its source,” Rubio said in a release. “This ban on issuance of visas does not mean we will be completely cutting off the affected countries from the outside world. We must continue to increase our assistance to those countries as they struggle to contain this outbreak. That is, ultimately, the only way we will be able to stop this outbreak and keep Americans safe from this horrible disease.”
Texas Reps. Kenny Marchant and Sam Johnson, as well as Rep. Dennis Ross (R-Fla.), have also said that they would introduce legislation that would prohibit the issuance of visas to the United States from nationals of the countries that have active outbreaks of Ebola.
The bills would also ban air travel to and from the three West African countries at the epicenter of the outbreak. But currently, there are no direct flights between those countries and the United States.