The Trump administration is considering expanding the government’s power to prevent even U.S. citizens and legal residents from reentering the country from abroad if they are suspected of carrying the coronavirus, The New York Times reports. The draft regulation, which the president has not yet approved, would rely on existing legal grounds by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to protect the country.
The proposed rule would build on policies enacted in recent months to ban entry by foreigners. Documents obtained by the Times say the new rule “would apply only in the rarest of circumstances” and would exclude people from the U.S. for terms “limited in duration,” which was not further defined. The government already has the authority to conduct extra health screenings of American citizens and potentially impose quarantines if an American citizen returns from a hot zone. A previous lawsuit challenged the government’s ability to use public health laws to seal the border. A Trump-appointed judge ruled against the government in that case, but the government rendered the lawsuit moot by agreeing not to expel the migrant children who were named in the case.