Enough to make you sick

Immigration crisis at border has the makings of a health crisis as well

Coming to a community near you: tuberculosis, scabies, measles and swine flu.

The tens of thousands of underage and often unaccompanied illegal aliens streaming across the southern U.S. border are bringing with them a host of seldom-seen communicable diseases – diseases that would bar legal immigrants from entry.

But instead of quarantine, this wave of mostly Central American migrants are shooed onto buses and planes for transport to unannounced destinations across the U.S., where they are to wait – wink, wink – for sponsors or hearing dates before immigration judges.

Reports coming out of the highly secretive immigrant holding centers – places where even U.S. congressmen have been denied entry – say anywhere from 10 percent to 25 percent of detainees have scabies, an itchy rash caused by insect mites.

The Border Patrol has confirmed at least five of its agents have contracted the highly contagious disease because of close contact with immigrants.

Immigrants with fevers and bloody coughs attributed to swine flu and tuberculosis are housed with others, where they eat, sleep and use the bathroom in the same crowded areas.

The Obama administration, which practically created this crisis, is doing what it can to keep a lid on the story. Officials at holding centers have been instructed to ban photographs, video and even cellphone cameras.

Officials have clamped down on interviews with the illegal aliens, custodians and doctors treating the new arrivals. And anyone visiting the camps must go through pre-arranged and heavily scripted dog-and-pony-show tours.

“What are they trying to hide?” asked Rep. Jim Bridenstein, R-Okla., who was recently denied access to a facility at Fort Sill, Okla. “Do they not want the children to speak with members of Congress?”

Detained immigrants typically undergo health and safety screenings before they reach detention centers, but because of the sheer volume of people entering the country at such a fast pace, observers say, proper screenings are not being carried out. Border Patrol agents rely heavily on the results from verbal and visual inspections, which can miss the diseases that do not turn up from physical appearance.

How many sick children have fallen through the cracks?

About 60,000 illegal immigrants entered the United States over the past nine months, the Border Patrol says. Keep in mind that 60,000 is only the number of illegal aliens who have been apprehended. A government report last year said the Border Patrol stops only 60 percent of illegal border crossers.

How many immigrants with communicable diseases have slipped quietly into America’s undocumented underclass, currently 11 million strong?

The humanitarian crisis along the southern border being stoked by the Obama administration soon may become a public health crisis for the rest of the nation. Immigration officials say an estimated 30,000 Central American immigrants still are in transit north.

U.S. citizens might want to make sure their and their children’s immunizations are up to date. It’s becoming clearer that the illegal immigrants, who will be with us an indeterminate amount of time, are not.

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