Congress, federal officials and security experts are debating whether to ban travel or restrict visas for individuals attempting to travel to the U.S. from West African countries at high risk for Ebola virus exposure. The potential security regulations raise key issues regarding U.S. border management and risk mitigation practices with respect to international travel.
While such restrictions may appear, on the surface, to provide a layer of protection from the virus. In reality, proper passenger risk-based targeting practices can have a more effective impact.
Travel patterns and flight logistics are of the most important considerations. Former U.S. Customs and Border Protection-National Targeting Center official and current CT Strategies Co-Founder, Andrew Farrelly, notes that there are no direct flights from the identified West African nations. Travelers on their way to the U.S. under a visa ban would almost inevitably have contact with passengers holding valid documentation to enter the United States whose travel originates in those identified countries and transits through major European or other airports around the world.
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