As if there aren’t already enough travel restrictions to contend with these days, the United States is reportedly considering banning Chinese Communist Party members from entering the country.
A draft presidential proclamation, written amid intensifying tensions between the US and China, would revoke visas for members of the Chinese Communist Party and their families. The party has 92 million members, but the travel ban could affect up to 270 million people.
According to The New York Times, the ban would be based on the Immigration and Nationality Act — the same act used for the 2017 travel ban on travelers from Muslim-majority countries — which gives the president the power to prevent certain foreign nationals believed to be “detrimental to the interests of the United States” from entering the country.
Such a travel ban could also lead to the expulsion of party members who hold US visas and are currently in the United States, as well as their families.
If enacted, the ban would likely prompt a swift response from China, which could potentially restrict travel to the US, expel US citizens from China, or block their exit. A security alert from July 11, 2020, from the US Department of State warns of a heightened risk of arbitrary detention for US citizens in China.
The Times reported that travel bans against specific Chinese citizens are already in place. In May, students in the US who had ties to certain Chinese military institutions had their visa canceled. Some Chinese officials are also expected to suffer visa sanctions in regards to the current Chinese repression in Hong Kong. And some employees of Chinese technology companies involved in human rights abuses have also been banned from entering the US as of Wednesday.