Some Claim Migrant Caravan Will Bring Disease, Others Say Simply Not True

Barbara Schwarz
October 31, 2018 - 7:46 am
Oct 29, 2018; Mexico; The migrants are hitching rides on trucks and in pickups and cars at an immigration checkpoint as immigration officers watch.

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A Fox News guest this week claimed Central American migrants trekking towards our Southern border are bad for our health.  

Former ICE agent David Ward on Fox said "They're coming in with diseases such as smallpox and leprosy and TB that are going to affect our people in the United States." 

On the same network, Laura Ingram said "We don't know what people have coming in here.  We have diseases in this country we haven't had for decades."

Dr. Peter Hotez, dean of the National School of Tropical Medicine at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston says that is simply not true. 

Aside from the fact that smallpox has been eradicated, he says we have a number of tropical diseases in Texas already. 

"Factors that are promoting them seen to be related to poverty, related to climate change, urbanization.  Just about everything except immigration."  He says the mindset that immigrants are introducing diseases is simply not true.  It's also nothing new. "It's the oldest xenophobic trick in the book.  Unfortunately in the US there's been this undercurrent that's been going on for a long time.  It's very ugly and it has no place in this current discussion."

Hotez says the levels of vaccination in Central and Mexico are higher than they are in Texas. 

He calls the rates in North Texas and Austin "terrible," and "as a result we have schools where ten, 20, 30 percent of the kids are not being vaccinated. That's in stark contract with Central American and Mexico where there are high rates of vaccine coverage. "The irony is I'd be more worried about our kids in Texas giving measles to kids coming from Mexico and Central America."