What happened to the incubation periods at quarantine stations in Ellis Island? Why does coming here illegally exempt aliens from the laws on the books that make them inadmissible until we know they are not a threat?
On Sunday, Aaron Hull, chief patrol agent of the El Paso sector, divulged to the public what we already suspected but most government officials assiduously covered up. The head of the second busiest illegal immigration corridor told Fox News’ Maria Bartiromo that Customs and Border Protection (CBP) 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.”
Tuberculosis. That is the disease we sought to eradicate through our laws as early as 1907 by requiring every prospective immigrant to wait at Ellis Island, away from the population, until they got the green light to enter. That is a far cry from what a CBP official told me two weeks ago – that “we have not seen any specific, unusual, or alarming public health or infectious disease threats in persons in CBP custody.”
CBP declined to comment further on Hull’s revelation upon my request.
If border agents have confirmed the arrival of illegal aliens with tuberculosis who have not been treated in hospitals, what about all those exposed to it in close quarters who did not yet exhibit symptoms and were released within hours of apprehension? Unlike in the past, where illegal immigrants waited for days in ICE facilities before either being deported or released, CBP is directly releasing thousands of aliens into the interior within hours. A bunch of illegal aliens caught in Arizona and El Paso this past month were released in Tucson.
It is simply inconceivable that this is not a priority threat to the American people. It is certainly a violation of current immigration law. The law (8. U.S.C. §1182(a)(1)(A)(i)-(ii)) states clearly that any alien “who has failed to present documentation of having received vaccination against vaccine-preventable diseases, which shall include at least the following diseases: mumps, measles, rubella, polio, tetanus and diphtheria toxoids, pertussis, influenza type B and hepatitis B, and any other vaccinations against vaccine-preventable diseases” are inadmissible. Moreover, 8 U.S.C. § 1222(a) requires the government to detain them “for a sufficient time to enable the immigration officers and medical officers to subject such aliens to observation and an examination sufficient to determine whether or not they belong to inadmissible classes.”
DHS officials, including the current acting DHS secretary, have testified that these people have largely never “received immunizations.”
Why is the lack of detention space a rationale to vitiate our laws and release them anyway and not a rationale to turn them back across the river or at least hold them in tent cities right at the border until or unless they voluntarily depart?
We now know that aliens are coming with tuberculosis and that they are being released without proper quarantining and incubation. TB is highly contagious among people who live very closely to each other, precisely the conditions in which the migrants travel north. According to the CDC, “The TB bacteria are put into the air when a person with active TB disease of the lungs or throat coughs, sneezes, speaks, or sings.” It warns that “a person who is exposed to TB bacteria” should take steps not to “spread the bacteria to other people right away.”
ICE has a standard procedure of vetting for TB, but even if we assume agents are not too overwhelmed to make mistakes, thousands are being released directly by Border Patrol without ever stepping foot into an ICE facility.
As the CDC warns, “Some people develop TB disease soon (within weeks) after becoming infected, before their immune system can fight the TB bacteria. Other people may get sick years later, when their immune system becomes weak for another reason.” Remember, Guatemalans are already 83 times more likely to have tuberculosis than Americans and seven times more likely than legal immigrants, according to the CDC.
Thus, there is a reason why, over time, Texas, and particularly the border areas, have become infested with this once near-extinct disease. Breitbart Texas reported that Dr. Hector Gonzalez, the health director of Laredo, said, “TB is an ongoing issue in the state of Texas” and that “Between Texas, California, and New York, we have 50 percent of the cases of TB and the border has the most. Brownsville has the biggest number of cases.” According to Texas Health and Human Services, 61.4 percent of TB cases were associated with immigrants, and “rates are higher along the Texas-Mexico border.” In 2017, 53 percent of reported TB cases were among Hispanics, and all the border counties and major metro areas were hardest hit. This was before the major influx from Central America, which began last year.
Even if DHS had more time to screen some of these migrants, they are bringing in strains of diseases that medical professionals have not dealt with and might not be familiar with. A recent report from the bipartisan Homeland Security Advisory Council noted that “most FMUs [family units] are not detained by ICE ERO due to their lack of capacity,” so they are released very quickly by CBP. And although CBP has hired staff to treat medical concerns, the report observes how all the “infections” are “not necessarily evident” with the medical observations being done by CBP because “an expectation for clinical acumen by CBP agents and officers is highly unrealistic.”
Moreover, it’s unclear if these new strains are resistant to existing vaccines or not. We just don’t know what we don’t know when we are releasing tens of thousands from disease-prone countries without any regard for the American people. As the report stated, “Even medical personnel need to have a higher level of expertise to anticipate some of the potential infectious disease complications that can be found in this population of children.” We are now seeing that even those who were vaccinated against measles and were thought to have been immune have been infected by the new strains coming into the country.
According to Texas Health and Human Services, the rate of TB in children under five is double that of the rest of the country. It’s not surprising given that almost the entire flow of unaccompanied minors into the U.S. from Central America in 2014 was in Texas. Today, according to the Homeland Security report, “73% of the children in FMUs illegally crossing our border are tender aged, being 12 or younger.”
In June 2014, at the height of the Central American UAC crisis, which was a fraction the size of today’s influx, one CDC official sent out a warning on tuberculosis: “We might as well plan on many of the kids having TB,” states a June 26, 2014, guidance email from a CDC environmental health scientist, Alaric C. Denton, according to a Judicial Watch FOIA. “Most of these kids are not immunized, so we need to make sure all our staff are immunized.”
But here’s the rub. That was when the problem was with unaccompanied minors. They were held for a while in facilities run by Health and Human Services, where there is a protocol for screening, testing, and quarantining those with TB and other diseases. Today’s unprecedented influx of family units, on the other hand, are being immediately released unless the alien requests medical attention or a medical official or border agent happens to notice apparent symptoms of illness. Even then, they are often not quarantined but sent to our hospitals in major border cities, which further endangers Americans. A few months ago, Yuma County Sheriff Wilmot said on my podcast (minute-marker 19:55) that one alien escorted to a hospital in Imperial County, California, with tuberculosis escaped out a window.
There are other mystery viruses whose origin is unknown, but one has to wonder if illegal immigration is the culprit. Beginning in August 2014, right after the influx of Central American teens, there was an outbreak of enterovirus D68, a respiratory illness, which many experts increasingly believe to be the cause of Acute Flaccid Myelitis (AFM), a mysterious polio-like disease that causes paralysis but starts out as what appears to be an innocuous cold. Health experts still say the cause is unknown, but it’s awfully suspicious that this disease did not appear until the latter part of 2014, right after the Central Americans started coming. 2014 is a benchmark year for those who follow immigration policy.
Over 550 Americans have contracted AMF since 2014, 90 percent of them children, according to the CDC, whereas the disease wasn’t even tracked before that. The enterovirus D68, milder compared to AMF, was barely on the radar for decades, yet from mid-August 2014 to January 15, 2015, there were 1,395 confirmed cases. It’s hard to identify a more potent variable being introduced into the equation right around that time than the influx of tens of thousands of Central Americans under the worst conditions.
The most obvious external factor endangering public health is being ignored and adamantly exonerated as any factor whatsoever in the resurgence of many diseases. Why is it that the caution of our government is always weighted toward fulfilling the desired outcome of illegal immigrants and not protecting the welfare of the American people?
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.