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More Politicians Fan Ebola Fears to Derail Immigration Reform. By Roger Algase

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In my October 13 post, I gave examples of some anti-immigrant politicians who have been using the current concern over Ebola in the US as a propaganda tool in order to stoke anti-immigrant prejudice and derail reform.

No one can possibly dispute that Ebola is an extremely serious and dangerous disease and that every possible medical precaution must be taken to stop its spread in the US, Europe and at its source in three west African countries.

But the number of people who have contracted this disease in the US so far is exactly two - a tiny fraction of the number of Americans who have died and will die this year from gun violence and cigarette smoking.

Nor has there been a single reported case of Ebola in all of Latin America or the entire western hemisphere outside of the US. But this reality has not stopped anti-immigrant politicians from using Ebola to whip up mass hysteria against immigrants in order to block reform.

CNN's Maria Santana reports that on October 9, former Massachusetts Senator Scott Brown, now running for the Senate in New Hampshire, warned that undocumented immigrants might bring Ebola into the US through the Mexican border. Similar statements have been made by North Carolina Senate candidate Thom Tillis and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul.

www.click2houston.com/news/Politics/ebola-fears-spark-backlash-against-immigrants/29061146?view=print

The same report also quotes Georgia Rep. Phil Gingrey, a medical doctor, as warning:

"Reports of illegal migrants carrying deadly diseases such as swine flu, dengue fever, Ebola virus and tuberculosis are particularly concerning."

Maria Santana also mentions a suggestion by Fox News host Chris Wallace that an Ebola infected terrorist could enter through the southern border and wage biological warfare. Not to be outdone, Arkansas Rep. and Senate candidate Tom Cotton has accused terror groups of collaborating with drug cartels in Mexico.

The same article concludes by quoting Bob Quasius, president of Cafe Con Leche Republicans, as follows:

"I am saddened to see some conservatives use fears of deadly diseases to push an immigration restriction agenda. Their claims are vastly overblown and I am especially disappointed in Rep. Phil Gingrey, who is a medical doctor and who should know better."


Just suppose that some day in the future, there were ever to be any truth to the above allegations, as opposed to the current pure fantasy of Ebola coming into the US from Mexico or Central America. In such a case, would the administration's current enforcement policies toward unaccompanied immigrant children (also known as UAC's) fleeing gang violence in countries such as El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras not be one of the biggest dangers to public health of all?

One can only imagine what would happen if Ebola were to break out in an immigration detention center such as Artesia, New Mexico, where hundreds of children are reportedly already at risk of becoming sick with other illnesses by being crammed in unsanitary, unhealthy facilities with inadequate food and medical care. See, for example, Lory Rosenberg's recent articles in Immigration Daily on the conditions there, including, among others, Too Little, Too Late (October 1).

In such a case, the Obama administration's rush to deport as many children as possible in the shortest amount of time, in violation of both the letter and the spirit of the 2008 Trafficking Victims Protection Reauthorization Act (TVPRA), and of their fundamental legal Constitutional rights to counsel and due process of law, could be the beginning of a real epidemic in America, as opposed to only a couple of extremely unfortunate, but still isolated, cases at the present.

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Updated 10-16-2014 at 11:20 AM by ImmigrationLawBlogs

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