A United Airlines Boeing 767-400ER aircraft takes off from Zurich Airport in 2018. (Arnd Wiegmann/Reuters) Continuing to deny entry to EU and U.K. residents defies science and forsakes compassion.
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.” CAP said there was “little basis for the ban” and even accused Trump of “advanc[ing] Vladimir Putin’s agenda to divide the transatlantic alliance.” Really.
Unfortunately, as the deadly pandemic dragged on, so, too, did travel restrictions. Every few months, we’d make plans to see our family, only to cancel them a few weeks later. The pain of our distance intensified upon learning that I was pregnant, and as we eagerly anticipated the birth of a new generation for both of our families, we held out hope that we’d be able to
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