A couple of dozen journalists will be on the plane with him. An advance party is already in Washington DC.

Every one of those will be allowed in because the American authorities have granted them a National Interest Exemption. Without it, you cannot enter the US from the UK or the European Union. Period.

But why? Or to put it simply, what possible justification is there for President Joe Biden to keep this travel ban in place?

It’s a blunt instrument that prevents family members from visiting sick relatives, grandparents meeting grandchildren, business-people (unless they have got bloody good connections) from coming into the country to invest. And on and on it goes.

There are any number of big-ticket items for the two leaders to discuss when they get together on Tuesday at the White House – French anger over the submarine deal, the upcoming climate change conference in Glasgow, Afghanistan – and on and on.

But there is also this one item that should be relatively easy to sort out, which I suspect is of more immediate concern to tens of thousands of Brits and millions of Europeans.

The ban – understandably – was introduced by Donald Trump last March via a Presidential Proclamation, as the pandemic was starting to spread. There was much speculation that when President Biden visited Cornwall in June for the G7 international summit he would lift the ban.

Certainly, the US tourism industry was hoping so.

And I get more unsolicited emails on this subject than any other from British people frustrated beyond belief that they can’t get to see elderly family members who are too sick to travel from the US.

One man who got in touch bemoaned the fact that he couldn’t get to see a relative dying of cancer, but he had seen on the Daily Mail website a picture of a Chelsea footballer during the summer frolicking on the beach in Florida. Elite sports teams seem to get waivers very easily. Normal mortals, not so much.

Even British tennis player Emma Raducanu’s parents couldn’t come and watch their daughter play in the final of one of the highest-profile sporting events in the US.

[Read More…]