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.
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.