Tuesday, July 15, 2014

GOP Fearmongering about "Diseases" on the Border

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The Prophets of Doom, that is to say the Republican Party and Fox News, are spreading more lies about the poor immigrant children arriving on our southern border. The key word of their talking point is "disease," and the hyperbole making the rounds is that all the kids are infected with everything from HIV to Leprosy, and they are "invading" a town near you!!!

What Republicans are saying is the stereotypical racist diatribe against the "other" arriving on our shores. They said it about the Irish, the Italians, the Jews, the Chinese - just name any ethnic group. And don't forget the strange "Kenyan" President. It's a story old as time.

These fear-mongering doofus-twits forget that most large cities in the U.S. have an epidemic of bedbugs right now. Homegrown bedbugs. And every elementary school in the country, private as well as public, has had recent bouts with head lice, fleas, chiggers, or something else. Same thing with summer camps, where all sorts of itchy and crawly things run rampant in hot weather. For all we know, these kids on the border are catching parasites after arriving in the American camps.

You can't just glance at a child and diagnose whether they merely have a heat rash, allergy, or mosquito bites as opposed to being "infected" with something more sinister. Maybe it's not measles, it's merely chicken pox? The GOP just loves to play doctor, and here they go again.

What is the harm in giving these poor chidren some nutritious food, a bath, and a clean place to sleep? Is that too much to ask from the richest country on earth? What would Jesus do? Didn't he heal the sick and say "suffer the little children to come unto me." Those words are lost on the faux-Christians pretending to be holier than the immigrants. Shame on them!

No Ill-Eagles Graffiti in Maryland:

Via Raw Story
Fox News has reported, repeatedly, that the children entering the country are doing so “with active scabies,” one of the three most common skin infections among children.
However, The National Review cast doubt about verifiability of the scabies claims, noting that the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agent who made them, Ron Zermeno, received a cease and desist order from his employer, reminding him that he should not speak without prior authorization.

From the Texas Observer
With thousands of children from Central America arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, an old plague is once again sweeping the country—the fear of the diseased immigrant.

“Our schools cannot handle this influx, we don’t even know what all diseases they have,” U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) said recently. “Our health care systems can’t withstand this influx.”

Fox News commentator Cal Thomas asks, for example, if “the unaccompanied minors pouring over the border…have brought with them proof of vaccination?” Thomas accuses the border-crossers of harboring vaccine-preventable diseases such as “mumps, measles, rubella, polio, tetanus and diphtheria.”

Before demonizing undocumented children, we should look at the facts: The vast majority of Central Americans are vaccinated against all these diseases. Governments concerned about health, and good parents investing in their kids, have made Central American kids better-vaccinated than Texan kids. We fear them not because they are actually sick, but because of powerful anti-immigration narratives that link foreigners to disease.

In fact, as the Texas Observer notes, the kids arriving on the Texas border are actually better vaccinated than our own children in the U.S., thanks to smear campaigns by famous celebrities blaming vaccines for everything from autism to cancer, as well as a lack of health insurance up till now for the poorest families.

By comparison, one in six kids in Texas is uninsured, and even insured families often must pay for vaccination. That means that many Texas kids fall behind on vaccinations, or miss them altogether when their family can’t afford a doctor’s visit. Other families refuse vaccination.
. . . Fact check: UNICEF reports that 93 percent of kids in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are vaccinated against measles. That’s better than American kids (92 percent).

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