Tuesday, June 25, 2024
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Banned from the Land of the Free


MY late uncle, an RAF pilot, married his American wartime pen-pal and moved to New Jersey. I spent many summer holidays across the pond. I too wanted to live there. The land of the free. Time passed, I remained in Britain, made a happy and successful life for myself while visiting the States regularly to see friends and family. Before the pandemic my wife and I would escape UK winters to be in California.

My son had other ideas. He studied in the States, worked there on various visas, until eventually he was granted citizenship.

He is living my dream.

I, a British citizen, am now banned from visiting my son. 

When the rollout of the Covid vaccines started, I made an informed decision about not putting something into my body that was, after all, an experimental product. As a computer scientist I conducted my own research into the mRNA methodology upon which they were built. I decided that for me the risks far outweighed the benefits. It was a personal decision and one I don’t regret. 

I had Covid a few months back and was unwell for a few days. No worse than a bad cold. Yet we are banned from entering the States to visit my son because we are not vaccinated. Meanwhile American citizens can travel freely in and out of the States irrespective of their vaccination status.

Doesn’t this strike you as weird?

We had hoped that the ban would be lifted when it was reviewed last week but instead it was extended except for Chinese citizens who can travel freely to the States irrespective of vaccination status but subject to a PCR test.

Yes, you read that correctly. If I were Chinese or American I could visit my son.

The US is the last country in the Western world to have this ban and one of only two on the planet to have such a policy. The other is Indonesia – but even the Indonesian ban is uniformly applied.

I would like to be able to visit my son, my family and numerous American friends. In due course, I would like to see him marry and have a family. But at this rate I will be barred from that experience. I will not be able to witness his wedding or be there for the birth of his child.

How many others in the UK and around the world are similarly banned from the country we thought to be the most liberal, and cannot, indeed may not ever again, see their loved ones?

I ask for sense to prevail, for the Land of the Free to live up to its name, and to be able to visit the US once again.

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Stephen Kirk
Stephen Kirk
Stephen Kirk is a successful entrepreneur having established businesses in media and technology. He is the author of The Authentic Entrepreneur. Prior to the pandemic he was an international traveller!

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