I was on CNN.com/live yesterday with David All of TechRepublican and Andrew Rasiej of Personal Democracy Forum. It wasn’t the greatest of my media appearances especially after my skype camera connection cut out suddenly in the middle of my sentence! (sigh – sorry CNN!) As the conversation started, All shocked me by suggesting we should close the borders to Mexico and that swine flu was somehow an immigration problem. I made the points that this is a public health issue. The CDC is asking citizens to stay home if they are sick and see a doctor if they have symptoms that match swine flu. Yet the United States is the only nation in the top 20 economies that does not provide some type of mandated paid sick leave. This means that 50% of U.S. workers have to choose between their health or feeding their families. Add to that the fact that 40% of Americans are uninsured with the U.S. again almost alone among developed nations not providing basic health care to citizens and you’ve got a structure that is not optimal for controlling and containing disease. I also mentioned that closing the borders with one of America’s largest trading partners would be detrimental to our already struggling economy. Conservatives are opportunistically playing on people’s fears in an attempt to thwart immigration reforms while downplaying the much more serious health care system crisis we really face.

From HuffPo:

Conservative media hosts, including Michelle Malkin and Glenn Beck, have placed the blame for the spread of swine flu to the United States squarely on the shoulders of undocumented Mexican immigrants. Some even suggested yesterday that Mexicans were purposefully carrying the virus across the border to sabotage the United States.

There’s no basis for either claim — in fact, news reports and health officials suggest that Americans traveling to Mexico likely carried the disease home. For example, several students at the infected school in New York had recently come back from a spring break trip to Cancun.

The bottom line is that if you follow conservatives’ ridiculous arguments, not only should close the borders, maybe we should also round up all the Mexicans and put them in camps so they stop spreading disease. Monstrous and absurd. Also, kinda racist: can you imagine if swine flu was connected to Canada that conservatives would be talking about the problem of immigration?

Here’s the real deal, people. 

Disease can begin in any country and can spread quickly because of global travel patterns which dwarf immigration numbers. Closing our borders is not a feasible or helpful solution.  The EU has already warned Europeans about travel to America – this kind of fear mongering is not helpful.  The reality is that live in a global world.  Tamiflu – the only tool we have right now to fight swine flu — is made from ingredients that only grow in China and it’s produced in Indonesia. Panicking and closing the borders will only worsen the crisis and is 14th century level thinking. 

Immigration reform can make us all healthier by bringing people out of the shadows.  Our health care system is only as strong as its weakest link – when people aren’t fully integrated into America – all our communities are less healthy and .

From WHO:

GENEVA, April 28 (Reuters) – The World Health Organisation is not recommending travel restrictions and border closures to fight swine flu, a spokesman said on Tuesday.

Infected people may not show symptoms at the airport or when they reach a border crossing, so travel limitations like those imposed during the SARS outbreak are ineffective, spokesman Gregory Hartl said.

Border controls don’t work. Screening doesn’t work,” he told a news conference, describing the economically-damaging travel bans as basically pointless in public health terms.

Related Posts with Thumbnails