Last Friday, President Obama lifted a 22-year-old ban that barred persons with the HIV/AIDS virus from traveling to the United States. Since 1981, more than 25 million people have died of HIV/AIDS.
The ban was enacted in 1987 when the epidemic was becoming more and more prevalent.
My contention is then set against the president’s decision to repeal the ban. With the issues of immigration being more present than ever, it is difficult to understand the conditions by which one is permitted into this “land of the free” with fair treatment.
We are pleasing the gay community with this newly signed law, but forget about cases completely unrelated to it.
We discriminate on the basis of race, yet we will by the end of the year, allow carriers of the retrovirus into the country. This is not at all an attempt to speak ill of those tested HIV/AIDS positive, because I do in fact sympathize with them. Who doesn’t? It is rather an attempt to understand the basis by which the government inherently discriminates.
With over half of the globe’s countries’ containing no universal form of healthcare, the question of immediacy is then brought up. And yes, I understand that our healthcare system is not universal either, but because of our development, it makes it easier for those in need to be treated.
Referring back to immediacy, how soon will one know whether or not he or she has the said virus, given they are from an undeveloped nation? A main factor in the manifestation of the virus is the lack of education and development. If one were completely oblivious to the fact of being a carrier of HIV/AIDS, then his/her allowance into the United States would pose a threat. If a sexual relationship were to arise, then they would ultimately be putting the citizen at risk, without even knowing.
We are essentially dehumanizing the immigrants already in the United States or those attempting to come, by alluding to the idea that they are no better than the ill. Race is not transmittable. AIDS is. Through this repeal we have ultimately altered our priorities and ethics. And this issue is not limited to racial discrimination. It can be also applied toward religion.
This is especially so for those of Middle Eastern origin and Islamic faith. Sure, anyone is allowed into the country, but they are not ensured to be treated fairly. The 2001 PATRIOT Act discriminates tremendously against those of Middle Eastern decent. Though it is not stated explicitly, it is undeniably evident. They have received a hostile backlash from both the public opinion and government.
By what standards will fair treatment begin to be implemented?
Nevertheless, this may all be diverted back to the repeal of the ban. We are beginning to give to the gay community what they desire, but is such a decision good for the overall well-being of the United States?
The repeal appeases those with HIV/AIDS but in turn, may lead to a wave of detrimental effects. Not all are informed of the effects of AIDS, even those in the United States. We are beginning to stress a sense of fairness toward that gay minority, but why then, not stress fairness to all minorities?
Marla Bahloul, a sophomore journalism major, is arts editor of the Campus Times. She can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.