U.S. Embassy says sorry over misleading entry ban update

United States flag and eagle (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/CGP Grey)United States flag and eagle (Photo: Wikimedia Commons/CGP Grey)

Dutch, and other European travelers, may be allowed to enter the United States before next year after all. The United States embassy in the Netherlands confirmed that the coronavirus related entry ban on European travelers has not been extended, unlike previously reported.

Earlier on Monday, news outlet BNR reported that the embassy said the American entry ban on travelers from the European Union will be extended until the end of 2020. According to the broadcaster, the US embassy was now saying that a representative's remarks were inaccurate and called it a misunderstanding. "We apologize for not being precise enough in our response," BNR quoted an embassy spokesperson.

The broadcaster asked the embassy whether the extension of measures announced by the US also applied to the travel ban on Europeans. The embassy initially responded: "This is an extension of the original order that banned Europeans (and all other tourists/travelers to the US)," BNR said. Now a spokesperson told the broadcaster: "That's my fault for being not clear. The Presidential Proclamation is an extension of something that was already in place for immigrant visas, but it is different than the Covid-related travel ban."

A spokesperson from the embassy confirmed that the new quotes were accurate, and told NL Times that the error was that the broadcaster “confused two different things. There are two different sets of travel advice. One is related to COVID and covers Schengen, the second one covers labour issues with specific visa classes.” BNR has taken the original story off of its website, as has NL Times.

The spokesperson also referred NL Times to statements given by the White House this week, in which the U.S. leader said that there would be a moratorium on new immigrant visas. "President Trump is building on this measure with an additional pause on several job-related nonimmigrant visas—H-1Bs, H-2Bs without a nexus to the food-supply chain, certain H-4s, as well as Ls and certain Js—preserving jobs for American citizens," the White House said.

President Trump, in Arizona at a press event along a portion of the new wall along the Mexican border was asked about the visa and green card issue. He said, “So we want to give jobs to Americans right now. Right now we want jobs going to Americans.”

The coronavirus travel ban remains unchanged, with no end date attached to it, the spokesperson said to BNR.

President Trump may also be hoping that extending this entry ban will garner more support from his followers - tight borders and banning large groups of foreigners from the country have been key parts of his campaign from the start. It also plays into his promise to keep jobs in the country for Americans - a theme that is likely to land on friendly ears with the economic blows caused by the pandemic. 

In testimony on Tuesday, Dr. Anthony Fauci told U.S. politicians about the “disturbing surge” of SARS-CoV-2 infections in states where the virus was poorly contained, and those states which were doing well. “The next couple of weeks are going to be critical in our ability to address those surges we are seeing in Florida, Texas, Arizona, and other states,” Fauci, the country’s infectious diseases expert, said.