On the way home in the car this afternoon, listening to Rush Limbaugh, he was talking about the measles outbreak in Southern California. He said he believed the outbreak of this disease, practically irradiated in the U.S., was because of all the un-vaccinated illegal alien children President Obama’s immigration policies have attracted to the U.S. For those of us who are not pleased with President Obama or his immigration policies, it’s tempting to want to believe this. On the other hand I have heard people say it’s the anti-immunization trend, mostly among the more affluent, that is responsible. Proving or disproving this, of course, would be impossible without doing the kind of contact mapping done for the Ebola outbreak. Because measles is rarely life threatening, it’s like the common cold, you can never be sure where or from whom you caught it.
Nevertheless, we know that illegal aliens from Mexico and Central America, where public health policies are not up to U.S. standards, bring many diseases into the country. Rush pointed out that the purpose of Ellis Island, that operated from 1892 to 1954, was to examine immigrants for diseases. It worked. Over the past 100 years, numerous diseases have disappeared in the U.S. Whatever the truth about the measles outbreak in California, is it wise to not do a better job of screening people coming into the United States, legally and illegally, to prevent the reintroduction of diseases thought to be no longer a threat to public health? Given that there no longer are centralized facilities for screening immigrants doing so would require considerable resources. We cannot and should not place that burden on the U.S. Border Patrol; and it’s just one more reason why we need to secure the border. Terrorists, criminals and carriers of infectious diseases must be kept out of the country. For those who cry “racial prejudice” I say nonsense. I don’t want to see any American die from terrorism, crime or disease.