The CDC stated on its website (last reviewed Sept. 2021) that to control the spread of disease within their borders, states have laws to enforce the use of isolation and quarantine. The law also includes the use of police power functions in their quarantine stations.
“In addition to serving as medical functions, isolation and quarantine also are “police power” functions, derived from the right of the state to take action affecting individuals for the benefit of society,” CDC stated on their website.
States have police power functions to protect the health, safety, and welfare of persons within their borders. To control the spread of disease within their borders, states have laws to enforce the use of isolation and quarantine.
These laws can vary from state to state and can be specific or broad. In some states, local health authorities implement state law. In most states, breaking a quarantine order is a criminal misdemeanor.
Tribes also have police power authority to take actions that promote the health, safety, and welfare of their own tribal members. Tribal health authorities may enforce their own isolation and quarantine laws within tribal lands, if such laws exist.
Who Is in Charge:
1. The federal government
- Acts to prevent the entry of communicable diseases into the United States. Quarantine and isolation may be used at U.S. ports of entry.
- Is authorized to take measures to prevent the spread of communicable diseases between states.
- May accept state and local assistance in enforcing federal quarantine.
- May assist state and local authorities in preventing the spread of communicable diseases.
2. State, local, and tribal authorities
- Enforce isolation and quarantine within their borders.
It is possible for federal, state, local, and tribal health authorities to have and use all at the same time separate but coexisting legal quarantine power in certain events. In the event of a conflict, federal law is supreme.
The quarantine stations are located at 20 ports of entry and land-border crossings where most international travelers arrive as stated on the website. It seems like illegal immigrants are exempted in this case.
According to its authority and scope, CDC has the legal authority to detain any person who may have an infectious disease that is specified by the Executive Order to be quarantinable.
CDC may issue a federal isolation or quarantine order if a quarantinable disease is suspected or identified. Federal isolation or quarantine order was last enforced during influenza.