Historically, immigrants to the United States have undergone health screening upon arrival at our borders or shores, to prevent catastrophic epidemic outbreaks in America. Writing about the history of Ellis Island in the academic publication Medicine and Health Rhode Island, prolific health science writer Dr. Stanley M. Aronson notes:
The immigrants, each with their names and geographic sites of origin inscribed on a piece of paper attached to their shirts, climbed a flight of stairs before entering the huge inspection hall. During this brief transit, they were carefully observed for visible signs of lameness, excessive physical weakness, pathologic lesions or mental aberration. Medical inspectors wrote appropriate chalk marks on the immigrants’ shoulders (e.g., G for goiter, L for lameness, X for mental deficiency). The immigrants were then channeled into twelve narrow aisles at the head of which was a vigilant uniformed public health physician who conducted what has sometimes been called the six-second inspection. Since twelve examining physicians were expected to certify the health of some 5,000 immigrants per day, the medical inspections were brief. The eyes and scalp were rigorously examined for signs of trachoma, scalp infection or lice.
Imagine, if you will, the anxiety, the inner turmoil, the dread experienced by each immigrant as he or she lined up for the rapid inspection, knowing that any hint of a number of organic illnesses or emotional states, deemed to be unsuitable for a future American resident, might be the basis for disqualification, shipment back to the old country and disruption of the family.
The 1903 published guidelines for examining physicians stated that certain diseases constituted unequivocal grounds for exclusion and therefore for shipment back to the old country. These dangerous and loathsome illnesses were first, trachoma, a highly contagious eye infection and one of the major causes of blindness today, especially in tropical regions. Early symptoms of trachoma included redness of the eyes with some discharge; and so mothers, fearful that their children might be rejected for admission, blindfolded them for the duration of the ocean voyage, many weeks, in the naive hope that this would cause their eyes to appear clear and unaffected. The second major ailment was pulmonary tuberculosis. A stethoscope was sometimes employed, but most of the time the diagnosis was reached by the nature of the cough and the degree of weight loss. Other excludable diseases included leprosy and various venereal diseases….
More recently, vigilance against the Asian bird flu has been prominent in the news. Mainstream media have given this subject extensive coverage, profiting from the readership that their scare-mongering inspires. The Center for Disease Control warns:
The avian influenza A (H5N1) epizootic (animal outbreak) in Asia and parts of Europe, the Near East, and Africa is not expected to diminish significantly in the short term. It is likely that H5N1 infection among birds has become endemic in certain areas and that human infections resulting from direct contact with infected poultry and/or wild birds will continue to occur. So far, the spread of H5N1 virus from person-to-person has been rare , limited and unsustained. No evidence for genetic reassortment between human and avian influenza A virus genes has been found; however, this epizootic continues to pose an important public health threat.
There is little pre-existing natural immunity to H5N1 infection in the human population. If these H5N1 viruses gain the ability for efficient and sustained transmission among humans, an influenza pandemic could result, with potentially high rates of illness and death….
Note how seriously our government and media respond to something that might happen. Why then is there no concern about something horrific that is happening? The flood of illegal aliens across our southern border spreads throughout our country, wherever day laborers and domestic workers find opportunity. With them they bring tapeworms and tuberculosis. They undergo no health screening as they slip across the Rio Grande at night. But our media deem it politically incorrect to caution the public about these dangers.
Owned by the Korean evangelist Sun Myung Moon, the Washington Times is less restricted. They have acknowledged the incursion of tapeworm disease:
Parasitic infection plagues states along Mexico border
By Joyce Howard Price
February 8, 2007
Federal researchers say neurocysticercosis, a brain infection caused by a pork tapeworm, is a “growing public health problem in the United States,” especially in states bordering Mexico, where the disease is endemic.
Neurocysticercosis is the “most common parasitic disease of the central nervous system,” according to a study jointly conducted by the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and California public health officials, who reported that “international travel and immigration are bringing the disorder to areas where it is not endemic,” such as this country.
“Neurocysticercosis is the primary cause of epilepsy in endemic areas. This brain worm is very serious,” Victor C. Tsang, chief of the immunochemistry laboratory in the Parasitic Disease Division of the CDC said in a telephone interview….
“Recent data indicate cysticercosis is an important cause of death in California,” Mr. Tsang and other authors wrote in a recent report on the disease published in the European medical journal Acta Neurologica Scandinavica….
“In Hispanics and Latinos, neurocysticercosis accounts for 13.5 percent of [U.S.] emergency-room visits for seizures,” federal and California investigators wrote in their report in Acta Neurologica Scandinavica published late last year. “The growth is mainly due to immigration from endemic developing countries,” they reported….
Bottom line — the illegal immigrants who come here and take jobs in agriculture, domestic service, and fast food restaurants put us at risk for this brain disease. Also, they burden our health care system (and our tax dollars) with their own medical care for cysticercosis. And this is a pathogen that would not be spreading in our country if it were not for illegal immigration.
Tuberculosis, once thought to be well under control in the United States, is also on the rise as the illegals bring new drug resistant strains into our population. An article at About: Lung Diseases states:
Illegal Immigrants May be Bringing Tuberculosis Into U.S.
Government officials believe illegal immigrants are responsible for spreading tuberculosis to the U.S. Most illegal immigrants come from countries where health care is inadequate, and/or the immigrants lived in poor areas where they do not or can not seek proper health care. This puts them at risk for developing and dying from curable diseases, such as tuberculosis….
Tuberculosis is on the rise, affecting over 50 million people in over 30 countries. The toughest tuberculosis to control is multidrug-resistant tuberculosis….
The respected business publication Investor’s Business Daily discussed this problem in a widely excerpted article:
Give Us Your Sick
The Border: Among the consequences of illegal immigration we can now add the reappearance of infectious diseases long thought eradicated or under control.
In an article in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Dr. Reuben Granich, a lead investigator for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, reports the emergence in the U.S. of a particularly virulent, multidrug-resistant form of tuberculosis known as MDR-TB.
â€œEvidence of it has surfaced in 38 of 61 California health jurisdictions, and it could â€˜threaten the efficacy of TB control efforts,â€™ Granich said. The infected were said to be four times as likely to die from the disease and twice as likely to transmit the disease to others.
â€œReluctant to label the infected as â€˜illegalâ€™ or even â€˜undocumentedâ€™ aliens, the report notes that of the 407 known cases of MDR-TB, 84% were â€˜foreign-bornâ€™ patients, mainly from Mexico and the Philippines whoâ€™d been in the U.S. less than five years. The percentage of TB cases among the â€˜foreign-bornâ€™ jumped from 29% in 1993 to 53% as of last year….
We find this report in The Journal of the American Physicians and Surgeons:
Volume 10 Number 1 – Spring 2005
Illegal Aliens and American Medicine
By Madeleine Pelner Cosman, Ph.D., Esq.
The influx of illegal aliens has serious hidden medical consequences. We judge reality primarily by what we see. But what we do not see can be more dangerous, more expensive, and more deadly than what is seen….
What is unseen is their free medical care that has degraded and closed some of America’s finest emergency medical facilities, and caused hospital bankruptcies: 84 California hospitals are closing their doors. ‘Anchor babies’ born to illegal aliens instantly qualify as citizens for welfare benefits and have caused enormous rises in Medicaid costs and stipends under Supplemental Security Income and Disability Income….
By default, we grant health passes to illegal aliens. Yet many illegal aliens harbor fatal diseases that American medicine fought and vanquished long ago, such as drug-resistant tuberculosis, malaria, leprosy, plague, polio, dengue, and Chagas disease….
Madeleine Pelner Cosman, Ph.D., Esq., is a medical lawyer who formerly taught medical students at the City University of New York. She has written an outstanding report on the impact of illegal immigration to the American health care system. Her findings are extensively documented with impeccable professional references and scholarly papers — there is no political agenda here, just findings based on research and facts. The report is available in PDF format here. We urge our readers to study it.
Summarizing her findings, Cosman concludes:
We must choose either to surrender medicine to illegal aliens, or to fight illegal aliens. Surrender to illegal aliens is surrender to collectivist America: land of moral ambiguity and home of pacifist appeasement. Fighting against illegal aliens is fighting for individualistic America: land of moral strength, and home of responsible liberty.
As we fight to reclaim medicine, so we defend our nation.
Do not shrug this off as a problem for California and other southwestern states. Now we are all paying for it. In 2005 the government worked out a plan to use federal tax revenue to reimburse health care providers for the mandatory treatment of illegal aliens. From a report by CNN News:
U.S. to pay medical bills for illegal immigrants
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Health care providers can charge the government for emergency care provided to illegal aliens beginning Tuesday.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued final guidance Monday that sets up a system for reimbursement. Lawmakers set aside $1 billion over four years for the program, created by Medicare legislation passed in 2003….
Two-thirds of the money will be distributed to health care providers based on a state’s percentage of undocumented aliens. The remaining third will go to providers in the six states with the largest number of arrests of undocumented aliens.
The states receiving the highest amounts in the current fiscal year are California, $70.8 million; Texas, $46 million; Arizona, $45 million; and New York, $12.25 million….
Last year the talking heads drummed up the specter of the black plague, salivating over the fear-driven media ratings as they asked over and over, “Should we be worried about the bird flu?” (When there is no factual news to frighten us with, they ask a rhetorical question repeatedly until it assumes the stature of real news in the minds of the American public.) But faced with a real and demonstrated danger that we should be warned about, they are frozen in the silence of political correctness.
We must control our borders. We must permit only legal, and consequently health-screened, immigration. It is not a question of meeting labor force requirements. It is not about being compassionate to foreigners who seek opportunity. It is a medical issue of life or death, of survival for our own legal citizens.
Previous articles in our Illegal Immigration series:
The Crider Case
Illegals Deadlier Than War On Terror
Going By The Numbers
The Price of Lettuce
Nancy Matthis is the publisher and executive editor of the weblog format news magazine and multimedia outlet American Daughter Media Center.