Immigration And Disease: It's Enough To Make You Sick By Robert Klein Engler (11/21/03)
Uncontrolled and illegal immigration to the United States causes many problems for the nation. Just the tax revenues spent on welfare programs, education, health care, and housing for illegal immigrants is enough to make one question our immigration policies. Now, we can add another problem and cost associated with illegal immigration: illegal immigrants can make you sick.
According to an article at newsobserver.com and other news sources, a deadly Pennsylvania hepatitis outbreak has spread panic among many residents of the area. ''More than 500 people got sick and three have died from this hepatitis outbreak.'' Charles Sheehan, writing for the Associated Press, claims that ''The nation's biggest known outbreak of hepatitis A is causing such a panic that people are lining up by the thousands for antibody shots and no longer eating out.''
Health investigators are looking into whether contaminated produce--perhaps scallions from Mexico--may have caused the outbreak at the Chi Chi's restaurant in the Beaver Valley Mall, about 25 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. ''We're very concerned. It's very serious and we've sent a team of people out there to assist,'' said CDC spokesman David Daigle.
According to yet another article on station WPIX Pittsburgh's web site, ''In light of the hepatitis A outbreak from a Center Township restaurant, Chi-Chi's has pulled green onions from its menu nationwide as a precaution. As far as the investigation into the Chi-Chi's outbreak, the virus has been identified as the 'Mexican Strain.' '' Health officials reported, ''Workers may have contaminated food by failure to follow basic hygiene in cleaning hands after using the bathroom.''
The U. S. is not alone in its fight against illegal immigration and disease. Illegal Chinese immigrants to Europe are bringing to that continent malaria. Even Thailand has problems with diseases brought in with immigrants from Burma. The biological clock is ticking and a world health crisis is looming. Because the U. S. suffers more immigration than any country in the world, our health problems are growing faster. Certainly, the potential for biological disaster has come to the notice of terrorists and Al Qaeda.
Although the out break of Hepatitis A in Pennsylvania is the largest in U. S. history, it is just the tip of the iceberg in so far as disease and immigration is concerned. Frosty Wooldridge in his many articles reports that, ''Thousands carry head lice, leprosy, tuberculosis, and hepatitis A, B, and C into the U. S. Tuberculosis, five years ago, was almost nonexistent in the USA. A school in Sebewaing, Michigan, reported 30 children and four teachers had tested positive for tuberculosis infections.''
Wooldridge goes on to add, ''In the past four years, 16,000 cases of multi drug resistant (MDR) TB, which was formerly endemic ONLY to Mexico, crossed over the borders inside the bodies of illegal aliens. These adults and their children have spread out across the country to work in fast foods and harvesting. Another outbreak occurred in Austin, Minnesota, where eight police officers tested positive for tuberculosis.'' A similar outbreak reportedly occurred in Portland, Maine where 28 tested positive for tuberculosis.
And the list gets even longer: ''Leprosy totaled 900 cases in the USA in the past 40 years. In the past three years, according to a report from the New York Times in February, 2003, leprosy has infected over 7,000 people in the United States. It was brought in by illegal immigrants from India, Brazil, Mexico, and the Caribbean. Leprosy spreads by infected illegal aliens working in fast food, dish washing and hotels."
Then there is Chagas Disease. This disease ''is brought directly from Mexico and Latin America where it has infected over 18,000,000 people. One can contract it by eating uncooked food contaminated with infected feces of the Vinchuca Bug. It crosses over the border in the bodies of an average of 2,200 illegal aliens daily.''
Disease transmission by immigration is not limited to just the states that border Mexico. As far north as Kentucky and Illinois, problems of disease and immigrants are to be found. A Kentucky state legislator blamed illegal Hispanic immigrants for spreading disease in Kentucky and draining the shelves of local food charities. Illegal immigrants whom Kentucky State Representative Fred Nesler described as ''mostly your Mexicans'' have caused problems in his Western Kentucky district. He said, ''Whenever they come into a community, those people bring quite a bit of disease with them.''
In northern Virginia, state health authorities announced that ''tuberculosis continues to rise'' and that ''immigration is fueling the spread.'' According to the Washington Post, this strain of TB is the drug resistant strain (Washington Post, March 18, 2002). The state Health Department released figures showing an increase of nearly 5 percent in TB cases in the state between 2000 and 2001, and 57 percent of the increase occurred in northern Virginia itself.
As the Washington Post explained, ''Health officials say the rise of TB ... is largely a consequence of the migration of people from parts of the world where the disease is common. It is thought that two-thirds of the cases of TB brought into the United States originated in just three countries: Mexico, the Philippines, and Vietnam.''
A study by the Federation for American Immigration Reform in the St. Louis Business Journal (August 20, 2003) reports that Missouri spends about $21.4 million a year and Illinois spends $484 million a year to educate school-aged illegal immigrants. The report goes on to state that, ''The money spent in Illinois is enough to supply healthcare to every person under the poverty line for two years or to supply financial aid to the nearly 34,000 college students denied it.''' Clearly, illegal immigration is lowering the standard of living of all American citizens.
Writing in the National Review, James R. Edwards cites the dramatic increase in diseases immigrants bring to the United States. He states, ''TB is especially prevalent in Mexicans....Mexican immigrants have an infection rate of 35.5 cases per 100,000, far above the native-born rate.'' Edwards then goes on to ask, ''Does America have the resolve to safeguard public health first, even at the risk of being politically incorrect? Do American taxpayers willingly accept the additional burden of the costs mass immigration places on the nation's healthcare system?''
The answer to Edwards' question is, ''No.'' It is obvious there is no desire or resolve to safeguard public health in either political party. Nor do the politicians want to do anything about illegal immigration, especially illegal immigration from Mexico. What is lacking here is a long term vision of what is good for the U. S. Instead, everyone is looking at short term political or economic gains.
A solution to the problems of illegal immigration probably will hurt some people in the short run. That is the pain that precedes a cure. Some families may be broken up and some decent, hardworking people sent back to a country that has no jobs for them. Nevertheless, in the long run, policies that deport illegal immigrants will benefit the U. S. These policies may even force Mexico, among other nations, to get their house in order. But because there is short term pain for a long term benefit, politicians will stay away from doing anything to solve the immigration mess and its attending public health problems. The problem of illegal immigration and disease will just grow worse. It's enough to make you sick!