Marco Rubio: Zika Virus Could Pose a Major Threat to Florida
While most of his focus is on the presidential race, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., turned his attention on Friday to the outbreak of the Zika virus and how President Barack Obama’s administration plans to handle it.
Rubio wrote Commissioner of U.S. Customs and Border Protection Gil Kerlikowske on Friday about the matter with concerns on how it could be transmitted from Latin America through ports and airports across the Sunshine State.
“As you know I represent Florida, which is home to millions of people of Latin American descent, many of whom travel regularly to the region or have family, friends or business associates that come visit them here in the U.S.,” Rubio wrote. “In fact, Miami International Airport is widely considered to be the United States' ‘Gateway to the Americas,’ operating over 300 flights to and from Latin America on a typical day totaling over 43,000 passengers – more than any other U.S. airport. In addition, no other U.S. airport operates as many flights to and from Brazil, where the Zika virus is currently most prevalent, than Miami International Airport.
“For years Miami International Airport has struggled with a severe shortage of U.S. Customs and Border Patrol (CBP) personnel to effectively process all the passengers and cargo coming through the airport in an efficient manner,” Rubio continued. “Based on early reports about the Zika virus, along with the sheer volume of passenger travel and commerce that occurs between Florida and Latin America, the virus' ‘explosive spread’ could further strain an already overburdened workforce at Florida's airports, especially Miami International Airport.”
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