Keeping Americans safe from dangerous diseases was a solemn duty adhered to with the upmost meticulousness since our colonial times. When our federal government began assuming control over immigration, weeding out contagious diseases was the quintessential application of the “few and defined” powers of the federal government against “external” threats that James Madison envisioned as the entire purpose of a federal government in Federalist #45. Has that principle been upended in the era of political correctness?
Even when our medical advances were quite primitive compared to today’s standards, our governments did everything they could to ensure that not a single immigrant could potentially infect Americans with diseases. Now, despite the gap between health standards of modern America and the Third World being greater than ever, has our government given up our defense against contagious diseases so long as they are coming from illegal immigrants? Has our careful vetting system through the legal visa system been completely ignored at our land border?
The Scope of the Problem
One need not be a health care or public policy expert to recognize the clear and present danger of up to one million migrants entering our country in a year from some of the most disease-prone parts of the world – with many of them being released into our communities within hours of arriving. With new outbreaks of once nearly eradicated diseases in our country on a daily basis, the threat is beyond obvious and greater in scope than anything our government dealt with at Ellis Island, given that all immigration over a century ago was orchestrated in a controlled fashion behind quarantined checkpoints.
Most of the migrants today are coming to our southern border from Guatemala, Honduras, and El Salvador, but a number of them are coming from other volatile Latin American countries, as well as disease-ridden countries in Africa.
Let’s start with the Northern Triangle countries because that is the source of the majority of migrants. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), “Dengue, chikungunya, and Zika viruses cause mosquito-borne infections of increasing concern in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.” These are diseases for which there are no vaccinations to prevent. A humanitarian brigade under the U.S. Southern Command was in Honduras this month treating locals for these very diseases.
Scabies, lice, and malaria are other diseases where we have no vaccines for which to defend against, yet the former two have been very common among those surrendering to border agents, while malaria is “endemic” to the area, according to CDC.
CDC further found that these countries are at “high risk for neglected tropical diseases,” with over one million children being treated each year for soil-transmitted helminths in Guatemala and Honduras. Central America experiences at least 200,000 cases of Chagas a year, a disease that is “the most common cause of nonischemic heart disease in Central America and may cause cardiomyopathy years after initial infection.”
Then there are those diseases prevalent in these countries for which there are vaccines, but it’s almost certain a large percentage of these migrants are not vaccinated. They include chicken pox, tuberculosis, measles, mumps, pertussis, and rubella. Military officials have also found Hepatitis A to be prevalent in El Salvador. Last September, the Honduran Ministry of Health declared a medical state of emergency after at least 5,000 incidents of mumps were reported. That was right before the largest migrant caravan left from Honduras.
According to the Tijuana Health Department, one-third of the caravan migrants who stayed in the region were treated for health issues, including tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, chicken pox, lice, skin infections, and hepatitis. One Honduran migrant on her way in a caravan just spoke to the Associated Press and revealed she has HIV.
We already know that TB has been a longstanding problem from these parts of the world and have most likely been the source of the resurgence of TB in this country after having previously eradicated it. Guatemalans are 83 times more likely to have tuberculosis than Americans and seven times more likely than legal immigrants, according to the CDC.
While there is no way to guard against the diseases that do not have vaccines, theoretically vaccines can help prevent the danger from those diseases like TB, measles, mumps, and chicken pox. However, it is likely that most of these migrants are not vaccinated.
CDC notes, “access to basic healthcare in Central America largely depends on socioeconomic status and environment (urban or rural).” The migrants coming through our border now are among the poorest families from rural areas, largely from the indigenous population, who are centuries behind us in health standards and education levels.
As U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan said during his testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee a few weeks ago, “migrants travel north 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.” Randy Howe, head of operations for CBP’s Office of Field Operations, testified that “many migrants travel north from countries where poverty and disease are rampant, and their health can be aggravated by the physical toll of the journey.” He elaborated as follows:
In many cases, they arrive at our southern border already exhibiting symptoms of a health issue. Those we encounter may have never seen a doctor, received immunizations, or lived in sanitary conditions. Close quarters on trains and buses that smugglers procure for moving them through Mexico can hasten the spread of communicable diseases. All of these factors leave migrants vulnerable to serious medical complications.
Then there are countries like Haiti that are saturated with Cholera and Typhoid. We’ve had increased migration from Haiti in recent years and many are now coming in caravans. They are also endemic of Cameroon, a country where we’ve had an increase in illegal aliens. Typhoid, in general, is one of the deadliest diseases among those prevalent in Latin America. There was also a Typhoid outbreak in Guatemala in 2017 and in El Salvador last year, but the problem is less prevalent than in Haiti.
Then there is the threat of Ebola from migrants from Congo and other African countries who are increasingly coming to our border. According to the World Health Organization, there have been over 1,200 cases of Ebola in Congo. Remember, thanks to our open border and continued judicial and executive amnesty magnets, people have come from 50 countries just in the Rio Grande Valley (RGV), according to Rodolfo Karisch, the RGV Sector chief patrol agent who recently testified before the Senate Homeland Security Committee.
The next part of this series will discuss the health screening and vaccination protocols (or lack thereof) for dealing with those who are caught and released into our communities. But for now, just understand that while 40-60 percent of agents are tied down dealing with the bogus asylum claims, there are thousands of people coming in undetected.
Raul Ortiz, deputy chief Border Patrol agent for the Rio Grande Valley sector, told the Epoch Times that there are 25,000 illegal aliens that they are certain have successfully evaded Border Patrol just in one sector. “We actually don’t know who they are. So far, here in south Texas, we’ve apprehended folks from 44 different countries. These are from the Middle East, Southeast Asia, Yemen, Iraq, Pakistan, Iran, you name it.”
Again, even assuming that all of those who are caught from such volatile countries are not released due to either security or health concerns, what about those we don’t apprehend? Along with the family units surrendering to agents, there is a surge in single adults coming to the border, roughly a 30 percent increase in March over February. One high-ranking border agent in California told me that he is “most concerned” about the growing trend of those coming in trying to “evade detection” during this crisis of family units. But why has nobody in the medical community thought of this in terms of a public health crisis at a time when they all recognize the severity of the threat from Americans who travel abroad and don’t get the appropriate vaccinations? There are over 10,000 cases of cholera per week in Yemen, and Yemeni migrants are coming to our border.
Ironically, the Left is obsessed with creating a monopoly for the insurance cartel under the guise of promoting health care, but they seem to never care about the actual “care” part. This is why the government and the media have stifled any data on this issue and we never hear any concern about the resurgence in diseases very plausibly emanating from this gaping hole in our public health defense. One journal article from the Infectious Disease Society of America in 2009 agonized over the “ethical concerns” that the “publication of the results would lead to increased stigmatization and discrimination of undocumented persons in the United States and to harsher measures, such as deportation, when these persons receive a diagnosis of TB.”
Have we become so political as a nation that political correctness will allow us to revert to the 18th Century health standards?
Daniel Horowitz is a senior editor of Conservative Review. Follow him on Twitter @RMConservative.