Illegal Immigration May Lead to Public Health Crisis

July 9, 2014

While legal immigrants are not allowed admission to the United States for certain health reasons, illegal immigrants are not prescreened and can carry disease, warns Marc Siegel of Fox News.

Under U.S. law, foreign nationals cannot enter the United States if they have leprosy, active tuberculosis, cholera, plague, one of five sexually transmitted diseases or influenza with pandemic potential. Additionally, those without certain vaccinations, including measles, mumps and rubella, are not allowed to enter the country.

But in 2014 alone, the Rio Grande Valley Sector of the Border Patrol has already detained 150,000 illegal immigrants, and 80,000 children are expected to cross the border illegally this year. The temporary holding centers that have been established in southern Texas and Arizona are often cramped and unsanitary, writes Siegel, and up to 25 percent of immigrants there are suffering from scabies, a highly contagious and itchy rash.

This situation could lead to a public health crisis. When immigrants leave the camps, they can spread diseases to other states. Siegel notes that Texas has already seen a strain of drug-resistant tuberculosis, and some counties have cases numbering twice the state average. Additionally, unvaccinated immigrants have displayed measles and chicken pox, both highly contagious viruses, and one immigrant child in Texas has been diagnosed with swine flu. 

Policymakers need to work together to prevent the spread of diseases that were eradicated in the United States years ago, says Siegel.

Source: Marc Siegel, "Immigration Crisis: US Experiencing Major Public Health Crisis, Too," Fox News, June 30, 2014.

 

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