The Advocate’s Kerry Eleveld reports that President Obama is expected to announce the final end to the HIV travel ban during a signing ceremony today for the Ryan White HIV/AIDS Treatment Extension Act.
The new regulation eliminates any travel and immigration restrictions that are tied to a person’s HIV status. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) put the wheels of change in motion in late June by publishing the proposed regulation to the federal register, which triggered a 45-day public comment period. HHS has now sent the final change to the Office of Management and Budget for approval, but the source said HHS would not be able to fully implement the new regulation for another 60 days following the president’s announcement.
In the intervening months, the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services has directed its officers to place holds on any decisions regarding green card applications that are based solely on an individual’s HIV status pending full implementation of the new rule. Rachel B. Tiven, executive director of the LGBT lobby group Immigration Equality, welcomed the announcement. “At long last, people living with HIV will no longer be pointlessly barred from this country,” Tiven said. “Every day, Immigration Equality hears from individuals and families who have been separated because of the ban, with no benefit to the public health. Now, those families can be reunited.”