In his remarks before a televised Congressional hearing, Director of the Center for Disease Control Tom Frieden told Michigan Representative Fred Upton that a major obstacle to implementing a travel ban is that “borders can be porous.”
REP UPTON: Do we not have a record where they were before, i.e. a passport or travel status, as they travel from one country to the other?
FRIEDEN: Borders can be porous… especially in this part of the world. We won’t be able to check for fever when they leave, we won’t be able to check when they arrive. We won’t be able, as we do currently, to take a detailed history to see if they were exposed when they arrive. When they arrive, we wouldn’t be able to impose quarantine as we now can if they have high risk contact. We wouldn’t be able to obtain detailed locating information, which we do now, including not only name and date of birth, but e-mail addresses, cell phone numbers, address, addresses of friends, so that we can identify and locate them. We wouldn’t be able to provide all of that information as we do now to state and local health departments so that they monitor them under supervision.
But when Tennessee Representative Marsha Blackburn quizzed him on whether or not America’s porous border were a problem, he insisted he was only talking about borders in Africa.
REP. BLACKBURN I want to be sure I heard you right. You just said to Chairman Upton that we cannot have flight restrictions because of a porous border. So do we need to worry about having an unsecure southern and northern border? Is that a big part of the problem?
FRIEDEN: I was referring to the border of the three countries in Africa.
REP. BLACKBURN: Oh, referring to that border, not our porous border.