Another case for stronger borders

What's stopping deadly disease from entering America? Not enough

If America’s border security is so weak to be breached by thousands of unaccompanied Central American children, what’s to stop grown-ups from less hospitable regions from doing the same?

Answer: Not much, apparently.

But don’t take our word for it. Check the recent intelligence report compiled by the U.S. Customs and Border Protection agency, which reveals that thousands of immigrants from as far away as Africa and Asia have been caught illegally crossing the southern border, from 2010 to as recently as last month.

The report, now available online, also reveals at least 71 people from the three west African nations affected by the Ebola outbreak were among those who were caught or who turned themselves in between January and July of this year.

At the risk of engaging in “fear-mongering” – as some liberal pundits have accused “right-wing media” outlets of stoking with illegal-immigration health reporting – the Border Patrol document illustrates precisely why nations must have secure borders.

It isn’t just that that a potentially Ebola-infected illegal immigrant slipped in. It’s that they easily could have, given the porosity of our southern border and the Border Patrol’s preoccupation with housing, feeding and transporting the recent wave of illegal immigrant children from Central America.

It usually is prudent to avoid “overreacting” to a crisis, but when it comes to controlling the spread of Ebola – a highly fatal illness for which there is no cure – isn’t an extremely heightened reaction precisely what this nation needs?

Indeed, Tom Frieden, the head of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said Thursday that people “inevitably” would enter the United States with Ebola symptoms.

It is not possible to know how many illegal border-crossers went undetected. A federal report last year said the Border Patrol estimates it apprehends only 60 percent of those who enter illegally.

According to the leaked intelligence report, the 75 nationalities of those who were apprehended or turned themselves in included 3,246 people from China, 239 from Pakistan, 181 from Egypt and 38 from Yemen.

As alarming as those figures are, the actual numbers could be higher because they do not include data from other offices under Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

The report gives credence to Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s statements to CNN last weekend that the wave of unaccompanied minors crossing the border is a “side issue,” and that America should be “substantially more concerned about” criminals crossing the border.

U.S. Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, told CNN that his committee noticed this “very dangerous trend” a few years ago when an Iranian-based terrorist group was discovered planning an operation to infiltrate the United States through the southern border as part of a plot to kill a Saudi Arabian ambassador.

Anyone with nefarious intentions knows the easiest way to get into the United States is through its southern border. It’s only a matter of time before they exploit that weakness further.

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