In a bill, signed by the president last week pledging $48 billion to fight aids, is language that lifts the ban on immigrants with AIDS from entering the country.
In a speech before signing the law, President Bush emphasized that “HIV’s deadly stigma” is still a societal obstacle because patients still don’t receive mainstream acceptance.Congressional support for lifting the travel ban was bipartisan and strong, but not unanimous. Leading the opposition was U.S. Rep. Lamar Smith of San Antonio, the top Republican in the House Judiciary Committee. He sent a missive to his colleagues titled “The bill threatens the health and lives of Americans.”The e-mail cited the CBO’s April report predicting that revoking the travel ban would allow an estimated 4,300 immigrants with HIV to enter the country in 2013, increasing to 5,600 by 2018. Smith’s message left out the report’s estimate of the public cost of treating these immigrants and their children between 2010 and 2018: $83 million.