Ellen Richardson was prevented from entering the United States because she had attempted suicide. Two disconcerting issues arose: How did Homeland Security know about her suicide attempts, and why would a paraplegic, middle-aged woman trying to go on a cruise be barred entry to the States?
The first issue has been resolved. Canadian Police, rightly or wrongly, share information with United States law enforcement. Richardson’s suicide attempts had made it into police databases.
The New York Times takes up the second issue. Why are non-violent, non-criminals barred entry into the country?
Enshrining prejudice in any part of society enables it in others. Most of the people who fought for the right of gay people to serve in the military did so not because they hoped to become gay soldiers themselves, but because any program of government-sanctioned prejudice undermined the dignity of all gay people. Similarly, this border policy is not only unfair to visitors, but also constitutes an affront to the millions of Americans who are grappling with mental-health challenges.