Lawmakers call for more Ebola screening at Texas airports

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) and Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) call for increased Ebola screening at airports in their home state.

Story highlights

  • Two lawmakers from Texas want ebola screening enhanced in their homestate airports.
  • The letter is written to the Obama-appointed U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske.
  • The lawmakers note 15.6 million international travelers moved through the two Texas airports in 2013.
Two conservative lawmakers from Texas are calling on border authorities to enhance Ebola screening at airports in their state.
In a letter to the Obama-appointed U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner R. Gil Kerlikowske on Friday, Sen. Jon Cornyn and Rep. Michael McCaul requested that Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport and Houston George Bush Intercontinental Airport are added to the list of locations where heightened screening of travelers is conducted.
"Because those traveling from Guinea, Sierra Leone, and Liberia can transit to the United States from many other countries, we have concerns that the current decision to screen only at five airports may not adequately protect Americans and others traveling to America from the Ebola virus," the lawmakers said in their letter, which also points out that a combined 15.6 million international travelers moved through the two Texas airports in 2013.
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The letter also raises broader questions about the government's response to preventing the spread of Ebola -- namely, the number of people from Ebola-affected countries entering the U.S. via sea or land, who wouldn't be screened at airport security checkpoints.
"What other Ebola-related measures are being taken at other vulnerable port environments, particularly at high traffic land border ports of entry along the Texas-Mexico border?" the politicians write in their letter. "If none, why?"
This isn't the first time lawmakers on Capitol Hill have clamored for more action from the Obama administration on the Ebola crisis. Earlier this week, 26 primarily Republican members of Congress penned a letter urging the White House to prevent the spread of Ebola in the U.S. by toughening airport screening and banning travelers from West African countries where the disease is rampant.