Hidalgo County, Texas, is ground zero for the most illegal aliens coming in among all places along the southwestern border. It is also experiencing an outbreak of mumps, with 46 reported cases countywide since March, an unprecedented number for any U.S. county. Yet you would never know about this if you rely on the national media beat reporters at the border to report on it. Why? Because it is inconceivable that this unprecedented outbreak is not coming from the influx of extremely vulnerable illegal aliens from source countries that are experiencing a mumps epidemic.
On Monday, the Hidalgo County health department announced that the tally of mumps cases had risen to 46.
@HidalgoCounty 46 confirmed mumps cases – Consult Dr if an MMR Booster would be indicated – Wash hands w/soap & water,, cover mouth when coughing, do not share drinks, If symptomatic consult Dr for testing Stay home away from work & school as directed by Dr @TexasDSHS
— Hidalgo Co. Health (@hidalgohealth) May 20, 2019
According to Hidalgo County Health and Human Services Director Eduardo “Eddie” Olivarez, the county usually only experiences one to three mumps cases in an entire year, and most of them are in infants. Now, they are seeing outbreaks in some of their schools and colleges.
Amazingly, Olivarez is quoted in the local media as saying that in no way is this epidemic coming from illegal immigrants. No sir. It’s likely coming from people traveling to other states around Easter time, according to Olivarez.
So let’s get this straight: We have people coming in the largest numbers ever “from countries where poverty and disease are rampant,” and large numbers of them “may have never seen a doctor, received immunizations, or lived in sanitary conditions,” according to testimony from acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan. They are coming under the worst conditions in “close quarters on trains and buses that smugglers procure for moving them through Mexico,” which “can hasten the spread of communicable diseases,” according to testimony from Randy Howe, head of operations for CBP’s Office of Field Operations.
We know there was a massive mumps outbreak in Honduras right before the caravans started coming up last fall. Two weeks ago, the AP reported that “authorities in the northern Mexico border state of Tamaulipas say they have detained 289 Central American migrants, including some children with measles and other illnesses.” Most of the caravans left from San Pedro Sula, a northern Honduran town that had 1,336 reported cases of mumps as of April.
We now know that there were close to 200 individuals in Texas ICE facilities who contracted mumps. CBP has released thousands of migrants without any screenings or vaccinations. Yet, Hidalgo County officials are 100 percent certain the mumps outbreak is coming from Americans and not from illegal immigrants.
In addition to the threat of diseases from Central Americans, there are now individuals coming from places in Africa that have Ebola outbreaks, such as Congo. More than 1,110 people have died of Ebola, there and the situation has spiraled out of control. I asked CBP if they have a special protocol for not releasing those coming from these African countries effected by Ebola and if they require mandatory screening and holding for an incubation period or if they just treat them if they exhibit symptoms at the moment of arrival or request medical attention. A spokeswoman for CBP responded that “U.S. Customs and Border Protection and public health officials monitor the health of people coming into the U.S. and there have been no encounters of Ebola along the southwest border.”
The CBP official further reiterated that at ports of entry, they have worked closely with the CDC to screen out potential threats:
“CBP and the CDC have closely coordinated to develop policies, procedures, and protocols to identify travelers at all ports of entry who may potentially be infected with communicable diseases and to minimize the risk to the traveling public. These procedures have been utilized collaboratively by both agencies on a number of occasions with positive results. CBP personnel review all travelers entering the United States for general overt signs of illnesses (visual observation, questioning, and notification to CDC as appropriate) at all U.S. ports of entry, including all federal inspection service areas at U.S. airports that service international flights, land-border crossings and seaports.”
However, there appears to be no confirmation that those coming between ports of entry as families to benefit from catch-and-release are subjected to mandatory screening and incubation based on country of origin. Indeed, a Homeland Security advisory council report observed that there clearly is no long-term screening to ensure those who don’t currently exhibit symptoms are incubated in order “to anticipate some of the potential infectious disease complications that can be found in this population of children.”
The council recommends facilities with exam rooms “and equipment designed to prevent the transmission of communicable diseases.” It further recommends the issuance of “a medical ‘passport’ for children exiting the custody of RPCs that identifies significant medical problems as well as any immunizations provided before their release, which would be beneficial to destination communities and their public health systems and avoid the very high risk of these children becoming lost to monitoring.” That is currently not being done.
Clearly, when it comes to diseases like tuberculosis, scabies, and mumps, it’s very unlikely that Americans are protected from their spreading. Aaron Hull, chief patrol agent of the El Paso sector, divulged in April that Customs and Border Protection is increasingly “caring for more and more sick people, because a lot of these aliens coming in are carrying contagious health conditions, things like chicken pox, scabies, tuberculosis, lice.”
Yuma County Sheriff Leon Wilmot is definitely seeing this problem in his area. “They have come across a number of different diseases, from scabies to chicken pox to measles to mumps … they have encountered that here,” said the veteran border sheriff on my podcast yesterday. “Unfortunately, there have been some Border Patrol agents that have been exposed to these types of health issues. I know there were two Border Patrol agents here locally who contracted scabies from having to have contact with some of these folks. It is an issue that is being monitored by our local health department, but medical [personnel] can only catch what they are able to catch. And when you are running through so many folks, its obviously an issue when they are not showing signs when they are in the custody of BP for just 24 hours.”
Yuma is the third busiest human smuggling sector at the southwest border.
Why do all common sense and precautions for Americans go out the window when it comes to illegal immigration? How bad do things have to get before we enforce our laws barring entry to those with health concerns?
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.