by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
In January 2021, my husband and I happily welcomed our first child. While no one could foresee just how many challenges and sacrifices would be required of pregnancy and birth during a pandemic, we certainly didn’t anticipate how long they’d last after she was born. Our heartache was not borne of the virus itself, but instead the senseless public policy that keeps our family apart.
My husband is originally from Austria. He relocated to the U.S. when we married in 2017, but his family remains in Europe. Since then, we have spent a great deal of time and money traveling to and from his home country to nurture deep connections with the relatives we love.
Then, coronavirus happened. When COVID-19 began spreading in Europe, former president Donald Trump understandably halted travel to the U.S. from a variety of countries around the world, including the United Kingdom and 26 European nations. Initially, the Trump administration planned for the travel ban to last just 30 days, with the then-president explaining, “This is just a temporary moment of time that we will come together as a nation and the world.”
At that time, the liberal Center for American Progress (CAP) decried President Trump’s decision, arguing it would not “help to prevent a coronavirus outbreak” and framing it as the Trump administration’s taking an “opportunity to once again attack Europe.” …
… Our happiness and relief were quickly thwarted upon learning that President-elect Joe Biden intended to reinstate the travel ban — a ban that remains in place today and indefinitely. As a result, my in-laws were not here for my pregnancy, our daughter’s birth, or even her baptism. We have no idea when they can visit again. Our baby is changing daily, as children do, and my in-laws are missing it all for no reason other than the Biden administration’s refusal to “believe in science” and adhere to its own promises of compassion for immigrants and visitors alike.