Presidential executive order details detention of suspected sick people

(Source: Participant Media)
(Source: Participant Media)
(Source: Participant Media)

The powers currently claimed by the federal government conceivably allow for situations where any communicable disease — even influenza — can become the basis for a large-scale military-enforced federal quarantine in which civil rights are suspended, civilian movement is restricted, and citizens are involuntarily detained — perhaps indefinitely.

On July 31st, 2014, President Obama expanded the list of communicable diseases for which the federal government is prepared to institute a quarantine.  Together, with the expansions made by previous presidents, the list includes the widest set of potential triggers for suspending American rights that the country has yet seen.

It wasn’t always this way.  The federal government’s first role in disease control was to modestly provide assistance to state-managed efforts, limited to port entry situations.  Foreigners entering the USA could be checked for disease and temporarily held for a time, if necessary. This was arguably a function of border security and a valid role of the federal government under the U.S. Constitution.

However, like most government programs, it was followed by considerable “mission creep.” After decades of centralizing power, checks at the border evolved into the potential for mass-suspension of Americans’ rights anywhere inside the USA.  The U.S. Surgeon General now has the broad and vague ability to invent regulations that “in his judgement are necessary to prevent the introduction, transmission, or spread of communicable diseases.”  He can enforce a quarantine in a manner he sees fit, up to and including the “apprehension and detention” of individuals — whether they are suspected of being sick or not.

The powers of the federal government really began to amass following the New Deal.  In 1944, Congress passed the Public Health Service (PHS) Act, granting the extra-constitutional ability of the Executive Branch to decide, at its discretion, which health threats were worthy of issuing a large-scale quarantine of Americans, and what measures would be used in enforcing the quarantine.  From that point forward, presidents and their appointees had at their disposal a potential loophole for bypassing the constitution and detaining people without proof or due process.  While seldom utilized, the threat posed to civil liberties continues to loom, especially with the hysteria over communicable diseases.  An excerpt of the PHS Act is listed below:

 

The Public Health Service Act (42 U.S. Code § 264 (a-b)) (link)
Signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on July 1, 1944

(a) Promulgation and enforcement by Surgeon General
The Surgeon General, with the approval of the Secretary, is authorized to make and enforce such regulations as in his judgment are necessary to prevent the introduction, transmission, or spread of communicable diseases from foreign countries into the States or possessions, or from one State or possession into any other State or possession. For purposes of carrying out and enforcing such regulations, the Surgeon General may provide for such inspection, fumigation, disinfection, sanitation, pest extermination, destruction of animals or articles found to be so infected or contaminated as to be sources of dangerous infection to human beings, and other measures, as in his judgment may be necessary.

(b) Apprehension, detention, or conditional release of individuals
Regulations prescribed under this section shall not provide for the apprehension, detention, or conditional release of individuals except for the purpose of preventing the introduction, transmission, or spread of such communicable diseases as may be specified from time to time in Executive orders of the President upon the recommendation of the Secretary, in consultation with the Surgeon General, [1].

 

Following the Public Health Service Act, the President has periodically issued arbitrary lists of diseases for which the U.S. Surgeon General is authorized to involuntarily detain people based on their suspected illnesses.  When a quarantine is ordered, anyone violating the order can be punished by fines and a one-year prison term (42 U.S. Code § 271 (a)).

The list of diseases for which quarantine may be used has come in the form of various presidential executive orders.  Since the 1940s, the list has been defined seven times.  Each time it has been amended, the President refers to the Public Health Service Act as legal foundation.  At one point, Americans could be forcibly quarantined for having the commonly-contracted Chicken Pox virus.  After President Obama’s most recent revision, the list includes the broadest quarantine provisions to date; now including “novel or reemergent influenza viruses” and “severe acute respiratory syndromes.”

Police State USA has tracked down the text of each executive order since the Public Health Service Act was instituted, giving some perspective about what the lists have entailed over time.   The disease lists have been cropped out and have been published below in chronological order:

 

Executive Order 9708 (link)
Signed by President Harry S. Truman on March 26, 1946

Anthrax, Chancroid, Cholera, Dengue, Diphtheria, Favus, Gonorrhea, Granuloma Ingulnale, Infectious Encephalitis, Leprosy, Lymphogranuloma Venereum, Meningococcus Meningitis, Plague, Poliomyelitis, Psittacosis, Ringworm of the Scalp, Scarlet Fever, Smallpox, Streptococcic Sore Throat, Syphilis, Trachoma, Tuberculosis, Typhoid Fever, Typhus, Yellow Fever.

Executive Order 10532 (link)
Signed by President Dwight D. Eisenhower on May 28, 1954

Anthrax, Chancroid, Cholera, Dengue, Diphtheria, Favus, Gonorrhea, Granuloma, Inguinale, Infectious Encephalitis, Leprosy, Lymphogranuloma Venereum, Meningococcus Meningitis, Plague, Poliomyelitis, Psittacosis, Ringworm of the Scalp, Relapsing Fever (louse-borne), Scarlet Fever, Smallpox, Streptococcic Sore Throat, Syphilis, Trachoma, Tuberculosis, Typhoid Fever, Typhus, Yellow Fever.

Executive Order 11070 (link)
Signed by President John F. Kennedy on December 12, 1962

Anthrax, Chancroid, Chickenpox, Cholera, Dengue, Diphtheria, Favus, Gonorrhea, Granuloma, Inguinale, Hemolytic Sterptococcal Infections, Infectious Encephalitis, Leprosy, Lymphogranuloma Venereum, Meningococcus Meningitis, Plague, Poliomyelitis, Psittacosis, Relapsing Fever (louse-borne), Ringworm of the Scalp, Smallpox, Syphilis, Trachoma, Tuberculosis, Typhoid Fever, Typhus, Yellow Fever.

Executive Order 12452 (link)
Signed by President Ronald Reagan on December 22, 1983

Cholera or suspected Cholera, Diphtheria, infectious Tuberculosis, Plague, suspected Smallpox, Yellow Fever, and suspected Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers (Lassa, Marburg, Ebola, Congo-Crimean, and others not yet isolated or named).

Executive Order 13295 (link)
Signed by President George W. Bush on April 4, 2003

(a) Cholera; Diphtheria; infectious Tuberculosis; Plague; Smallpox; Yellow Fever; and Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers (Lassa, Marburg, Ebola, Crimean-Congo, South American, and others not yet isolated or named).

(b) Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which is a disease associated with fever and signs and symptoms of pneumonia or other respiratory illness, is transmitted from person to person predominantly by the aerosolized or droplet route, and, if spread in the population, would have severe public health consequences.

Executive Order 13375 (link)
Signed by President George W. Bush on April 1, 2005

(a) Cholera; Diphtheria; infectious Tuberculosis; Plague; Smallpox; Yellow Fever; and Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers (Lassa, Marburg, Ebola, Crimean-Congo, South American, and others not yet isolated or named).

(b) Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), which is a disease associated with fever and signs and symptoms of pneumonia or other respiratory illness, is transmitted from person to person predominantly by the aerosolized or droplet route, and, if spread in the population, would have severe public health consequences.

(c) Influenza caused by novel or reemergent influenza viruses that are causing, or have the potential to cause, a pandemic.

Executive Order (unnumbered) (link)
Signed by President Barack Obama on July 31, 2014

(a) Cholera; Diphtheria; infectious Tuberculosis; Plague; Smallpox; Yellow Fever; and Viral Hemorrhagic Fevers (Lassa, Marburg, Ebola, Crimean-Congo, South American, and others not yet isolated or named).

(b) Severe acute respiratory syndromes, which are diseases that are associated with fever and signs and symptoms of pneumonia or other respiratory illness, are capable of being transmitted from person to person, and that either are causing, or have the potential to cause, a pandemic, or, upon infection, are highly likely to cause mortality or serious morbidity if not properly controlled. This subsection does not apply to influenza.

(c) Influenza caused by novel or reemergent influenza viruses that are causing, or have the potential to cause, a pandemic.

 

{ Support Police State USA }


Site Staff
About Site Staff 477 Articles
Writer, editor, political activist and liberty advocate. PSUSA has been exposing the police state since 2010 and never runs out of material.

1 Comment on Presidential executive order details detention of suspected sick people

Leave a Reply