HIV immigration ban considered for repeal
Measure has wide bipartisan support
By LOU CHIBBARO JR. | Mar 8, 4:16 PM
The White House and a group of Republican and Democratic senators announced support this week for a bill reauthorizing President Bush’s multi-billion dollar global AIDS relief program
that includes a clause repealing a controversial U.S. ban on foreign visitors and immigrants with HIV.
Sens. Joseph Biden (D-Del.) and Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) introduced the bill Friday saying it enjoys broad bipartisan support. The legislation would increase funding for the president’s
highly popular global AIDS relief program from $30 billion to $50 billion.
Using the global AIDS reauthorization bill as a vehicle for repealing the HIV immigrant and visitors ban dramatically improves chances for passing the repeal because the global AIDS measure enjoys widespread support and is expected to easily clear the House and Senate. Earlier proposals to repeal the HIV immigrant and visitors ban have died in committee and gay-supportive members of Congress have said a free-standing repeal measure would have little or no chance of passing.
Opponents of the repeal could introduce an amendment to remove it from the Senate bill. It could not be
determined late Friday whether any senators planned to introduce such an amendment and what its chances are of being successful.
Gay rights and AIDS activists have called on Congress to repeal the ban, calling it a violation of human rights. Opponents note that the U.S. is one of only 13 countries in the world to have enacted such a ban.
A stellar group of enlightened nations to be aligned with.