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House Rep called travel ban “bigoted”, now her tiny island has banned all visitors

Rep. Chellie Pingree (D – Maine) has been a self-described “vocal opponent” of travel bans. In recent days, her tiny island community of about 350 people voted to impose a travel ban on non-residents of the island due to concerns over straining the island’s health care services. The select board is controlled by Democrats.

NORTH HAVEN, MAINE – Are travel bans bad or good? One vocal Congressional opponent of President Trump’s travel bans lives on a small island and her local select board, composed of Democrats like her, recently instituted a travel ban forbidding anyone from even visiting, even seasonal residents of the island.

In the age of the coronavirus, travel bans are treated as a critical tool to protect a nation’s health. Around the world, travel bans are imposed and then removed as nations try to keep the fast-moving coronavirus from overwhelming local health care systems.

On January 31, just as the partisan effort to impeach President Donald Trump was coming to a conclusion, President Trump instituted a ban on any travel of Chinese nationals to the United States in an effort to protect America from what would come to be known by Americans as the coronavirus. The growth of the outbreak in China had

That decision drew criticism from Joe Biden, who said the Chinese travel ban was proof of Trump’s xenophobia. Some experts called the travel ban an overreaction before finally admitting it bought the United States valuable time to prepare for the pandemic.

Now, the Democrat leaders of the island community where Rep. Chellie Pingree (D – Maine) lives has voted to ban all non-residents from visiting the island during the coronavirus pandemic.

The ban seems to makes sense in a practical sense. Fearful that an outbreak will overwhelm the limited services and health care on the island, community leaders decided the most prudent course of action was to simply shut down any visits from anyone who does not live on the island of North Haven.

The decision is not unlike the position of those who have said the United States welfare system gets overwhelmed by massive influxes of immigrants on the southern border or the ban on Chinese nationals coming to the U.S. during the coronavirus outbreak in China.

Pingree owns a small business named Nebo Lodge on the island, which is off the coast of Rockland. In the state’s recently published listing of candidates qualified for the 2020 ballot, Pingree’s North Haven address is still listed as her residence. Chellie Pingree’s daughter Hannah, a former Speaker of the Maine House and current official in the administration of Governor Janet Mills, is listed as Nebo Lodge’s business manager.

The North Haven Select Board is made up of five people. Four of the five are Democrats and one is not affiliated with a political party.

Rep. Pingree has been an ardent opponent of border security and travel bans in the past. She has called President Trump’s travel restrictions “bigoted”, held press conferences to criticize travel restrictions and said they “stir up fear and hatred” in opposing them. Pingree traveled to Texas in 2018 to visit detention centers and criticize the Trump administration’s border security policies.

She even went so far as to sign on to an amicus brief in 2017 opposing a travel ban, dubbing herself a “vocal opponent” of that travel ban in her official statement.

Ironically, Pingree’s local Democrat-majority select board is now in favor of travel restrictions far harsher, and of questionable constitutionality, than anything President Trump has sought to do.

On March 14th, Pingree announced she had missed a key vote on a Coronavirus response bill on March 13th because she had to return to Maine for a long-scheduled hip surgery.

On March 15th, the North Haven board passed the travel ban forbidding anyone who is not a North Haven resident from visiting the island.

On March 17th, Pingree tweeted that her Congressional Offices in Maine and Washington D.C. were closed.

Pingree made no official statement of her whereabouts in the days following the hip surgery aside from a spokesperson telling a reporter she was “recovering on the mainland.”

North Haven’s population is about 375. It is one of fourteen islands off the Maine coast where communities are not connected to the mainland by a bridge.

Check out the report on the North Haven travel ban from News Center Maine.

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