HIV/AIDS, immigration, immigration exclusions, immigration policy, humanitarian, discrimination

Document Type



As of the summer of 1991, though the World Health Organization (WHO) had only 366,455 documented cases of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome (AIDS), the organization estimated that as many as 1.25 million people worldwide had actually contracted AIDS. That number was predicted to grow to twenty-five to thirty million cases of HIV worldwide by the year 2000. With hysteria and misinformation surrounding the transmission HIV/AIDS, Congress made changes to existing immigration laws to exclude entry to individuals with HIV. This comment critiques the early 1990s United States immigration policy that added HIV to the list of diseases for which a person could be denied entry into the country. The changing stance of the United States HIV exclusionary immigration policy is an example of impulsive government reaction to escalating public pressure in the face of the worldwide epidemic. The first section of the comment details the various changes the government's immigration policy has undergone in arriving at its current position. The second section argues that the United States policy is unjustified in light of the current medical knowledge about HIV/AIDS and the presently available means of testing. Finally, the comment argues that an exclusionary policy ignores humanitarian concerns and results in discriminatory treatment of HIV-infected aliens. The comment concludes that the result of an exclusionary policy is a governmental scheme that is counter-productive to the nation's ultimate goal of identifying a solution to the AIDS pandemic and recommends the permanent removal of HIV from the list of excludable diseases.



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