President Biden, please let me go home this Christmas

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FILE – In this Sept. 14, 2021, file photo, vaccine provider prepares a dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a clinic run by the Allegheny County Health Department at Casa San Jose, a non-profit serving Latino immigrants in the Beechview neighborhood of Pittsburgh. The number of Americans getting COVID-19 vaccines has steadily increased to a three-month high as seniors and people with medical conditions seek boosters, and government and employer mandates push more workers to take their first doses. (Alexandra Wimley/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via AP, File) Alexandra Wimley/AP

President Biden, please let me go home this Christmas

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What do Pakistan, Micronesia, and the U.S. have in common? Answer: Outdated and regressive travel policies.

Each belongs to the small handful of nations that continue to close their borders to unvaccinated foreign nationals.

Begun in October 2021 and renewed yesterday, the Biden administration’s policy of discriminating against unvaccinated migrants and visa holders has been extended until at least January 8. It is this policy which prevented Serbian tennis legend Novak Djokovic from participating in the U.S. Open earlier this year, and it is the same repressive policy which will force me to go a second Christmas without seeing my family.

As a foreign national studying in the U.S., I am permitted to remain here for the duration of my visa. But given my decision not to take the COVID vaccine, I cannot leave the country for fear of being denied re-entry. Hence for me and others in my position, the choice has been between abandoning my programs of study halfway through, or remaining stranded in the States for the remainder of the program.

For someone who recently claimed that “the pandemic is over” in the U.S., President Biden’s travel policies have all the foresight of a Homeric cyclops. One wonders what it is he sees that the leaders of Canada, New Zealand, and Israel — all of which opened their borders to the unvaccinated within the last few months — are apparently missing. As of the time of writing, not a single country in Europe requires COVID immunization for entry.

Today, there is no good scientific reason for the White House to continue to uphold its blanket ban on unvaccinated arrivals. No provision is made for travelers who have tested negative for COVID prior to arrival, nor for travelers like myself who have already contracted the virus in the last three months and therefore retain a natural immunity.

The plight of myself and thousands of others in my position is one which should concern not just the 50 million unvaccinated Americans, but also all citizens of this nation who care about authentic freedom and the right of an individual to refuse a vaccine — whether on health, religious, or liberty grounds — without being discriminated against.

My reasons for not taking the Covid jab are my own. In the verbiage of the Left, they are “between me and my doctor.” Yet whatever one thinks of these, the data show my risk of dying from the disease to be approximately four out of 100,000. The science suggests I am no more likely to transmit the virus than any of my vaccinated friends.

For most Americans, COVID ceased to be a serious public policy issue more than a year ago. Today a clear majority oppose requiring vaccines for people looking to go about their everyday lives.

As Biden rightly noted, the pandemic is over. Continuing to bar entry to unvaccinated foreigners is cruel and pointless. It’s time for the Land of Opportunity to catch up with the rest of the world and put an end to its discriminatory travel policies. Please let me and other foreigners in my position to go home this Christmas.

Clement Harrold is a British citizen pursuing graduate studies at the University of Notre Dame.

© 2022 Washington Examiner

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