The UCLA states uncategorically that no US citizen can be denied re-entry.

US officials notified passengers aboard the Diamond Princess that they would be denied re-entry "until you are no longer at risk of spreading infection during travel." It becomes even more problematic by stating that the person will be turned away at any boarder (Mexico, Canada, and any sea port) if they have already traveled to the boarder. I question the legality of this action. I understand the US can legally quarantine people, which seems like a legal and rational approach to the issue, but I am not sure if they can banish people like this.

  • 4
    Can you find a news source citing it was specifically a denial. I've heard nothing but Quarantine.
    – hszmv
    Feb 19, 2020 at 16:44
  • 1
    @hszmv edit waiting approval, the link I added is usnews.com/news/health-news/articles/2020-02-18/… Feb 19, 2020 at 17:12
  • I strongly suspect that the authority arises from public health laws which allows for the temporary quarantine of vessels and their passengers and crews, as opposed to a denial of entry of immigration grounds, which is not supposed to be permitted for a U.S. citizen.
    – ohwilleke
    Feb 20, 2020 at 4:50
  • @DavesPlanet you can merge your accounts.
    – phoog
    Feb 20, 2020 at 7:27

1 Answer 1


It looks to me like such a thing is possible under 42 USC 265:

Whenever the Surgeon General determines that by reason of the existence of any communicable disease in a foreign country there is serious danger of the introduction of such disease into the United States, and that this danger is so increased by the introduction of persons or property from such country that a suspension of the right to introduce such persons and property is required in the interest of the public health, the Surgeon General, in accordance with regulations approved by the President, shall have the power to prohibit, in whole or in part, the introduction of persons and property from such countries or places as he shall designate in order to avert such danger, and for such period of time as he may deem necessary for such purpose.

I see no indication that this is limited to foreign nationals.

However, I was not able to find whether such regulations have in fact been issued. Searching the Federal Register for "coronavirus" and similar phrases didn't turn up any. There is 85 FR 7874 which authorizes a 14-day quarantine for citizens, and suspends entry for aliens, but I didn't see any regulation authorizing denial of entry to citizens.

  • Formaly they would not be denied entry, but denied to proceed to their desired destination for reasons of public concerns. The given quote of the OP states in the second line: They can't return home for at least two weeks after they come ashore., which is rephrased by the OP as they would be denied re-entry, which is not contained in quoted artical at all. Feb 22, 2020 at 6:18

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