Immigrant Kids and the Fear of Disease

The insistence on stigmatizing migrating foreigners because they are not exempt from normal health troubles is an old disorder. But it's entirely homegrown.


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In 1952, Sen. Patrick McCarran of Nevada took the Senate floor to warn of the dangers posed by foreigners. The immigration system, he said, is a stream that flows into our society, and "if that stream is polluted our institutions and our way of life becomes infected." He was not the last person to see those migrating here as a terrifying source of contamination.

A couple of weeks ago, the city council of League City, Texas, passed a resolution expressing worry that "many illegal aliens suffering from diseases endemic in their countries of origin are being released into our communities." Tom Green County claimed the influx of Central Americans at the southern border puts Americans "at risk for epidemics of serious diseases." A Texas congressman said they might be carrying Ebola.

Now, there is no doubt that some of the youngsters and adults arriving in Texas suffer from various afflictions, including scabies and lice. It's hard to maintain optimal hygiene while trekking through the desert and sneaking rides on freight trains.

But scabies and lice are not unique to Honduras and Guatemala. The United States has a million cases of scabies every year and as many as 12 million of lice infestation. Local officeholders in Texas, however, rarely get agitated when these ailments pop up in New York or St. Louis.

Carrie Williams of the Texas Department of Public Health Services told The New York Times that the incidence of scabies among these newcomers is "not outside the norm of what we would expect."

As for more serious illnesses, the fear is also largely needless. "Cases of infectious disease are so scarce that rates cannot be calculated," Rachel Schultz, a spokesperson for the Department of Homeland Security, told me. The main medical problems plaguing the asylum-seekers, she said, are "dehydration, heat exhaustion, cuts, bruises, foot and ankle injuries, etc." Good news: Dehydration is easily curable—and non-contagious.

Williams counted just three cases of tuberculosis—which compares to the 1,233 cases in the state in 2012. The Texas Observer reports that "Guatemalan kids are more likely than Texans to be immunized for infectious diseases."

There hasn't been a confirmed case of measles in Guatemala or Honduras in over two decades. The Ebola specter is especially preposterous, since the disease has never showed up outside of Africa.

Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, who has helped in bringing some of the kids to Dallas to be housed, told The Dallas Morning News, "The diseases that the children carry are, for the most part, diseases that go through every elementary school in (Dallas Independent School District) every year. And the more serious diseases are the diseases we treat at Parkland (hospital) every day."

The warnings of incoming microbes do not stem from a mere abundance of caution about public health. There is more at work. The alarms sounded by anti-immigration forces are part of a long pattern of accusing immigrants of exposing clean, healthy Americans to filth and disease.

American University historian Alan Kraut writes that often, "native-born Americans' fear of disease from abroad became a rationale for an equally great and preexisting prejudice." When the Irish arrived, they were accused of bringing cholera. European Jews were seen as carriers for tuberculosis. Asians were alleged vessels for hookworm.

The Immigration Act of 1891 barred entry to anyone with "a loathsome or dangerous contagious disease." Even then, the risk was mostly imaginary. In the ensuing years, only 3 percent of arriving immigrants were turned away because of physical or mental illness.

Race, of course, plays a role in our fears. If we were warned of blue-eyed Canadians coming over the bridge from Windsor, Ontario, with mild but contagious skin disorders, the warnings might not resonate. But dark-skinned foreigners have long evoked special discomfort among many Americans.

The concern about foreign-borne illness is not completely unfounded, but why is it only immigrants who stimulate intense anxiety? If there are diseases endemic to the nations south of us, we don't need immigrants to transport them.

After all, more than four million Americans travel to Central or South America each year, and another 20 million visit Mexico. We somehow survive whatever germs they bring back.

The insistence on stigmatizing migrating foreigners because they are not exempt from normal health troubles is an old disorder. But it's entirely homegrown.

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  1. 90% of them are teenagers. They are not fucking kids. You don’t help your cause by lying Reason.…..-Teenagers

    After all, more than four million Americans travel to Central or South America each year, and another 20 million visit Mexico. We somehow survive whatever germs they bring back.

    That is because if you show up at the border sick, they don’t let you in until you are well. You can’t fly if you are sick. This is true even for citizens.

    I am sorry but that is just a dumb statement. That reads like something a high school student would pull out of his ass. You want a completely open border, got it. But you owe your readers a better case for it than something like that.

    1. TIL a 13 year old isn’t a kid. Ok sure thing there.

    2. That is because if you show up at the border sick, they don’t let you in until you are well. You can’t fly if you are sick.

      Two words: ‘Asymptomatic carrier’

      1. Two words, fucking moron. No shit, you fucking half wit. Just because such controls are not perfect, doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do one.

        1. Judging from your anger, I not only fisked you, but you know it and are wantonly dodging the point. Hence the butthurt.

          The point is that the statement “After all, more than four million Americans travel to Central or South America each year, and another 20 million visit Mexico. We somehow survive whatever germs they bring back.” is still valid. You attempt to negate it fails.

          1. I am not angry. I am laughing. That was a completely idiotic statement. You telling me that because asymptomatic people can come across the border, it doesn’t matter when hundreds or even thousands of symptomatic people do.

            You didn’t fisk anyone. You are such a fanatic about this issue you can’t help but say stupid things about it.

            1. Sadly, this.

    3. Well, most of them are under 27.

      1. And since they are also 26 they can sign up for Obamacare on their “sponsors” plan ?

        Maybe they will all head to States with their own exchange so they can get subsidies.

    4. Some symptoms are clear. Early-stage TB and some other diseases are not so clear in their symptoms. There are tons of infected travellers coming into America every day and it isn’t the end of the world.

      1. “End of the world” isn’t the point. “Does this make things in the US better or worse?” is the point.

        This article is an unconvincing whitewash. It amounts to: “In the past, these fears were exaggerated, therefore, we should not worry about the present.” Brilliant.

        “We already have these diseases here.” Then more cases are fine? Idiot.

        “Why is it only immigrants who stimulate intense anxiety about diseases?” Because citizens wealthy enough for travel usually can take care of themselves, and because it’s monitored.

        As for there being no evidence, bull. I’ve had a doctor tell me that TB was “epidemic” in San Francisco because of illegal immigration. He may have been being dramatic, but he wasn’t making stuff up.

        1. I didn’t realize this was a utilitarian website.

          1. I didn’t realize that libertarianism was a suicide pact.

            Any ideology becomes absurd if you try to apply it to everything all the time, regardless of reality. Open borders is the Achilles’ heel of libertarianism, because the reality (our broke welfare state, the low quality of most of our immigrants, and their on-average anti-libertarian nature) makes this one libertarian principle work against all the others.

            1. Eh, what difference does it really make? Nothing particularly libertarian seems all that likely to happen in any area. If I wanted to be involved in practical politics, I’d join TEAM BE RULED.

              In any case, I don’t think it is quite as clear as you make it out to be that open borders works against other libertarian goals

              1. The US is, on average, the most libertarian country in the world. It’s in our Constitution and our social DNA. The mass immigration we are getting is coming from countries in which “socialism” has a better reputation than “capitalism,” and which are (on average) more socially conservative. Fiscally liberal + socially conservative = anti-libertarian. Polls support this view, as do election results.

                A while ago in the UK they found a smoking gun that showed it had been Labor’s explicit aim to (in effect) elect a new people by making the UK less white and Christian through mass immigration. They got what they wanted, so now they have (among other benefits) Islamic nuts killing people there.

                Why do you think Democrats here are so eager for lots more poor people? If they thought they’d vote like Cuban immigrants, they’d treat them all like Elian Gonzales.

                1. In theory the US may be the most libertarian country, but in practice that’s pretty debatable, past and present. Even economically about 10 countries consistently outrank the US in economic freedom rankings. And nothing says libertarian like the border patrol and the accompanying police state here. It’s not just immigrants whose freedom is restricted by immigration laws.

                  1. Canada consistently ranks ahead of the USA in those rankings. Canafuckingda.

                    I’m no expert but I do live here and I gotta say, I don’t think we’re all that free. At all. You can’t turn left or right without bumping into some bureaucratic bull shit to hurl over. Ask Mark Steyn or try and become a private doctor here or run a business in Quebec. All made to submit to the state.

                    And it gets worse in Quebec where ‘communism by other means except in name’ rules the intellectual and political classes.

                    Alberta is probably the ‘freest’ province but not sure to what degree.

                  2. Ranking ahead in economic freedom isn’t quite the same thing as the core American small government, “leave me alone” attitude. And how are those countries on 1st and 2nd Amendment rights, etc.?

                    One of the paradoxes of politics is that sometimes things like that happen: people seeking freedom in the US in such numbers that all our freedom must be restricted to prevent even worse things from happening.

                2. Throwing a bullshit flag here.

                  90% of the UK is British born. 87% of the UK is white and 77% of the UK identifies as Christian with the other total combined faiths being 5.5% (including Jewish).

                  Also considering they don’t have a Labour government right now I’d say their strategy didn’t work so well.

                  But thanks for revealing your issues have nothing to do with freedom or anything silly like but are just fears that non-whites will be here. Good to know.

                  1. Labour let in migrants ‘to engineer multicultural UK’

                    Huge increases in immigration over the past decade were a deliberate attempt to engineer a more multicultural Britain, a former Government adviser said yesterday.

                    Andrew Neather, a speechwriter who worked in Downing Street for Tony Blair and in the Home Office for Jack Straw and David Blunkett, said Labour’s relaxation of controls was a plan to ‘open up the UK to mass migration’.

                    As well as bringing in hundreds of thousands to plug labour market gaps, there was also a ‘driving political purpose’ behind immigration policy, he claimed.

                    Ministers hoped to change the country radically and ‘rub the Right’s nose in diversity’. But Mr Neather said senior Labour figures were reluctant to discuss the policy, fearing it would alienate its ‘core working-class vote’.

                    1. Literally not an answer to my response. If it was a policy to radically alter the country then it’s failed. When 90% of your country is native born and nearly 90% are of white British stock, I’d say fears of “mass migration” and heterogeneity are vastly overblown.

                      Furthermore DailyMail? Really? So the article “Hey some guy who promises us that there are secret copies that you’ve never seen that say scary stuff.” Ok sure thing there.

                      Fears of some some “non-white Britain” are about as real as a dentist’s office in Manchester.

                    2. You are hairsplitting, and indulging in ad hominem (again), this time by dismissing the Daily Mail, which is merely quoting someone who AFAIK is not disputed. Who do you think would cover this story? The Nation or the New York Times?

                      My point is (in part) that “electing a new people to vote you into power” is and has been an unspoken but intentional policy among Democrats, as it was with Labor. I suppose if your goal was to make that 49%, you could consider it a failure, but getting it down to 90% is enough to swing many an election. You might as well argue that vote fraud is nothing to worry about, because each fraudulent vote is just one vote.

                      And packing cities with illegals affects Congressional and other elections even if illegals don’t vote, because the apportioning takes them into account anyway. More poor immigrants also “prove” that free markets have failed and that cities and Democrats need more money and more power.

                      Meanwhile, the ideologues talk about “xenophobia” and “freedom of movement” and ignore the loss of liberty that comes with the importation of mass of poor people inimical to many libertarian positions. (In the case of UK Muslims, people who are often inimical to nearly every libertarian principle… except freedom of movement, which they believe only works in one direction.) I am the one standing up for liberty on this issue, not you.

                    3. Sure you’re standing up for liberty if it weren’t all total BS.

                      The UK wasn’t radically altered by any common definition. Furthermore the 10% are mainly other European whites and the few that aren’t barely even vote to begin with. Even still the Tories are improving their vote share. Look to Canada and their 50% vote share of the immigrant vote.

                      Secondly, the best evidence actually shows that immigration benefits economic freedom because heterogeneity decreases support for the regulative welfare state. At most it’s net neutral in it’s support.

                      If your thesis was true (funny because proportionally most are going to red states) American politics would have stopped being competitive for centuries now. As immigrant blocs move up to the middle class and intermarry with natives, ethnic bloc votes become less powerful.

                      But sure, raise the spectre of an almost entirely homogeneous European country as the horror story of “Immigration Gone Wrong: The Tale of Enoch Powell”*

                      *R.L Stein, “Statist Fairy Tales and Fantasy” p. 69.

                    4. If anticipated poor political outcomes can justify suspending basic human freedoms (i.e. the right to control where you live and work), then wouldn’t it also justify vigorous suppression of free speech?

    5. John you do realize that not all diseases take effect immediately? And as cyto pointed out, some people never show symptoms but are a carrier?

      1. Sure. But that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t stop those who do have symptoms at the border.

        You do realize the lack of a perfect solution doesn’t diminish the utility of a good one?

        1. Sure, up until the point that an American citizen dies because we wouldn’t let him back into the country for medical treatment.

          1. For sure because only Americans have hospitals. Wow. Seriously, this is the best you guys have?

            1. Even taking your argument as totally valid, how does the current system optimize keeping such people out? When you make it illegal for almost everyone to cross the border it makes it harder to catch people like the diseased.

              1. Obviously the current system doesn’t optimize anything.

              2. Calidissident you’re pretending like their aim is to keep the diseased out. That’s just the really convenient excuse.

        2. We can’t use the border as a filter until we stop using it as a barrier.

          1. That’s absurd. All filters are barriers to some things. It has to be a barrier first, and a filter second.

            1. The words might not be perfect, but I think he makes a valid point. If people who wanted to come to the US could just go to an official border crossing and be let in after a basic screen for whatever diseases we want to keep out, we could do a lot more to keep bad diseases out. As it is now, the immigrants most likely to be carrying some disease have no option besides an illegal crossing where if they succeed there are no controls or filters at all.

              1. Do you think that agent can check their financial resources, criminal history, etc., while they stand in line? I want more control over the border than is practical in the “just process them as they come in” scenario.

                Immigration can be a good thing, but it’s always possible to have too much of a good thing. We have a broke welfare state and high unemployment. We don’t need more low-wage workers and welfare recipients. I posted this yesterday about LA: A projected $650 million in welfare benefits will be distributed to illegal alien parents in 2013, county officials said Monday.

                1. We certainly don’t need more welfare recipients, but it is not so obvious that we don’t need more low wage workers (in any case, shouldn’t that be up to the people who employ them?).
                  I think that if it were easier for people to cross the border legally to find work you would see a lot more poor immigrants going back and forth rather than establishing more permanent residency in the US, collecting welfare, etc. Yeah, you can get free stuff in the US. But if it is easy to go back home, that low wage in the US can go a long way in a 3rd world country.

                  1. but it is not so obvious that we don’t need more low wage workers (in any case, shouldn’t that be up to the people who employ them?

                    And what about the people paying their welfare, don’t they get a voice? What about the people competing for those jobs who are citizens?

                    It is no wonder that libertarians are considered morons by the vast majority of people.

        3. The point is that you tried and failed to refute the line from the article. You explicitly stated that the reason we survive the germs people catch abroad is because they’re stopped at the border.

          1. Yes. Those methods are effective if not perfect. Not doing them at all on the other hand, not so much.

            1. Are you pulling that claim out or your ass or do you have evidence to support the assertion that epidemic disease would be a much greater problem without such controls?

              1. In the United States, and especially in California, tuberculosis is largely an immigrants’ affliction. According to a recent report by the state’s Department of Health Services, California led the nation in the number of new TB cases reported last year, with 2,989. Three-quarters of those were among people born outside the United States and nearly one-fifth were younger than 16.

                Many immigrants, experts say, bring the bacterium from countries, including Mexico, the Philippines, Vietnam and China, where TB is endemic and health care systems are relatively weak.

                1. So less than 1 in 10,000 people in California? And less than 800 us born people getting infected? In any case, note what johns initial claim was. We were talking about stopping Americans coming back from travel abroad and how much worse things would be otherwise. We weren’t even talking about immigrants. Chapman made the point that we somehow survive people traveling abroad and john claimed that it was because we stop people who have visible symptoms. I’m not even saying that’s a bad policy, I’m disputing johns assertion that that’s the reason America isn’t being wiped out by epidemic disease.

                  1. The cost of this is greater than those numbers. I had to spend two hours and $80 for a chest X-ray because the doctor had to rule out TB. 30 years ago, they would not have done so, because the TB was considered history. I got an official SF wallet card certifying that I was TB-free. They hand those out because of all the screening that they have to do now, and that’s because of immigration.

                    I think John slipped up on a minor aspect of what he was saying, but is correct overall.

              2. There is about a 300 year history that says that quarantines work at controlling communicable disease. Jesus Fucking Christ you people allow your ideology to make you stupid.

                Is it really your contention that efforts to prevent people with communicable diseases from entering the population are ineffective? Really? Think about that a little bit and come back and try again.

                1. John, go back and read your initial comment. You didn’t say “well it would be worse if we didn’t do x.” You said that the reason we survive foreign germs from travelers is that we stop people with visible symptoms. Even allowing room for hyperbole that’s a claim that requires some evidence on your part as to how bad things would be otherwise.

                  1. Stopping people with communicable diseases from entering the population, contains the spread of disease. That has been established since around 1700. The fewer people you let in, the less disease you end up with. By your logic, we should let people with things like TB on planes and out into the population and have no worries of any consequences.

                    1. John it has been explained to you many times that many diseases will not have symptoms at the time that the person is returning to the US. You have claimed that stopping those with symptoms is the reason why we survive people traveling abroad. Provide evidence for that. Repeating the germ theory does not do anything for your argument because one does not have to show symptoms to be carrying a disease.

                    2. Don’t bother. It’s clear John here (Hmmm, sounds like a foreign English name. Would you mind stepping aside here? Gotta check for…uh…disease. Yeah that’s it.) is just insistent on that “them tharr furriners” are going to poison our good ol’ ‘Merican air.

    6. Valid points. But they don’t change the fact that the alarms about those minors carrying dangerous diseases is way overblown if not almost entirely fiction (unless Chapman did some cherry picking, which I don’t have a reason to believe).

  2. “Race, of course, plays a role in our fears.”

    Care to back up this claim?

    1. Race matters. ‘Race’ as in to whom you related. ‘I love my kids, but no more or less than my neighbor’s kids’ is an absurd statement. It is contrary to the human condition.

      Open boarders is a fine idea in theory, were it possible to implement universally. It isn’t.

      Someone let me know when Chuck Schumer complains about the boarder fence the Israelis put up to stop immigration from sub-Saharan Africa.

      1. I want a wall put up so I can’t see Schmucky’s moobs and ugly pie hole any more. How about that? Can we get that done?

        1. Chuck is smart. He scored a perfect 1600 on his SAT. Top men!

      2. I noticed that everyone who portrays race as “relevant” and tries to normalize racial prejudice also gives us gems like “open boarders.”

        1. I noticed that there’s approximately 14,000% more people who say race is irrelevant than act like race is irrelevant.

          1. I imagine that most people who say “race is irrelevant” really mean that race should be irrelevant. Obviously it is relevant in many practical ways today.

      3. It is contrary to the human condition.

        WTF does this have to do with your kids? I get it: you think racism is fine because it’s ‘part of the human condition’. Of course, so was rape.

        Open boarders is a fine idea in theory, were it possible to implement universally. It isn’t.

        Worked perfectly fine until 1924.

        1. So we should outlaw racism like we did rape? I don’t think the two are in any way equivalent…

          1. Way to miss the point and inject an entirely different argument. Am I really going to have to spoon feed this to you?

            1. No. But you made a comparison between racism and rape both being a part of the human condition to demonstrate that racism is wrong, like rape. It’s the same as the argument comparing someone’s actions to Hitler’s. “Oh, you like the trains to run on time, you know who else was for that!?”

              1. No, I used that comparison to point out that ‘being part of the human condition’ doesn’t mean we should be okay with it. Dense. As. A. Prog.

                1. It’s ok you don’t understand how analogy works. I think this has happened before!

                  Cytotoxic makes calls people names instead of making arguments. So did Hitler!

                  1. hehe. Makes calls. I’m dumb!

                    1. No argument there. You don’t even reading comprehension.

                    2. See. I told you! Ha. No argument, just “you don’t have reading comprehension. Well you’re a smelly fart, so nothing you say is meaningful!!!

                  2. I got cytotoxic’s point without any need for elaboration. Analogies can and do actually work that way.

                    1. Perhaps analogy was the wrong word. But his argument goes “racism, part of human nature, rape part of human nature. Rape wrong, racism wrong.” That makes no sense, because, for example, love is part of human nature.

                    2. He’s not saying that human nature = bad. He saying it’s not automatically good. That’s why the analogy is valid.

                    3. Ok, so I can make the same argument against him if he said it’s human nature to be racist. Love is also human nature! They’re identical arguments that reach exact opposite conclusions. In other words, they prove nothing.

                    4. Jesus Christ dude how hard is this to grasp? Widget made the argument that something was bad because it’s contrary to human nature. Cyto made the point that that’s not a valid argument because many things that are part of human nature are bad, using rape as an example. You bringing up love is irrelevant. No one said everything that is human nature is bad, just that it’s not all good. That means that your argument needs to be based on something else.

        2. ‘part of the human condition’

          What’s up with quotes there, Nancy?

        3. If you think we had open borders until 1924, read the text of the 1891 immigration law here (pdf)

          and remember that the law was enforced.

          1. Indeed. Ellis Island wasn’t a friendly greeting center, it was to filter out undesirables and send them back.

            1. The other side of the filtering was, once someone was cleared through Ellis Island, they were let loose to make their way as they wished; no ambiguous multi-year process of bureaucratic hassle was required for them to get on with their lives.

              1. No were there mulit years of welfare for them to look forward to.

                1. Funny because poor non citizens use it far less than Americans.

  3. “The United States has a million cases of scabies every year and as many as 12 million of lice infestation.”

    So let’s import some more.

    1. I thought one of the big issues was tuberculosis, but I didn’t see it mentioned.

      1. Never mind, saw it.

      2. It wasn’t mentioned that the desease had largely been wiped out in this country at one time, but has re-emerged in the last twenty years or so. Not only re-emerged but has done so as a more treatment resistant strain. Public health authorities have attributed that to increased immigration – particularly illegal immigration. South Texas, including the Houston area, has seen lots of tuberculosis cases from what I understand.

  4. So when are we celebrating “Punch A Cosmotarian Week”, anyway?

    1. Can we make it a never-ending party?

      1. A cocktail party?

      2. Will there be cake ?

        1. You get unlimited (nut) punch.

  5. Generally favorable to immigration, but worried about disease? No problem, says Reason, because:

    *You’re a racist

    *Who needs to get over himself

    *And learn to love disease

    *Because some of our citizens are also sick

    In much the same way, those concerned about the ability of teens with no work experience or skills to pay their way once here without a support system can

    *Go fuck themselves.

    This. This is why Reason is accused of being a bunch of DC groupies with no bite, but lots of bark for those against the DC agenda.


      1. Dude, Chapman just implied that anyone who has problems with the confirmed cases of disease exhibited by this latest wave of immigrants is a racist. I cannot think of any argument more counterproductive to the cause of open borders or even more liberalized immigration.

        1. I didn’t get that at all. He pretty clearly states that he thinks it plays a role in the fears of some. Words like “might” and “many” seen to indicate that he’s not talking about everyone. It seems kinda dumb to deny that some people who gets riled up over immigration are actually racist.

          1. *get

            1. So fucking what? Lots of libertarians are racist scum, too, as a look at its most popular site will reveal. The vast majority of Americans do not support illegal immigration, and are evenly split on accepting more immigrants than we have at the moment. They sure as hell do not support immigrants with harmful, communicable disease coming over whenever they damn well please. This is a very reasonable position on its face, and Chapman construing the “many” who hold it as irrational racists is bullshit.

              If you support open borders, show how it will make this issue better or how it is otherwise better than a regime which screens out and controls for disease (which is something that was done at Ellis Island, btw). Implying that this position derives from racism and arguing accordingly is utter bullshit.

              1. Thank you.

              2. Someone’s a bit moody today? If you didn’t notice, chapman devoted like one paragraph to that and spent the rest of the article on other stuff. If the mere acknowledgement that racism contributes to the panic some people have over immigration, and the exaggeration of its potential problems (which was the reason he brought it up – he wasn’t saying “anyone who disagrees with me is racist” he was pointing out that that is one reason why people blow stuff out of proportion on this issue) bothers you, then you need to grow thicker skin. I’m not against the system you describe (though current immigration laws can hardly be compared to Ellis island era laws) I’m against people blowing stuff out of proportion to justify creating Fortress America. And as I said above the current system is counterproductive to that stated goal, since you have to deal with massive numbers of people crossing illegally who don’t have disease in addition to those who do.

          2. People who disagree with progressives and cosmotarians never have legitimate concerns, only “fears”.

            1. And ignorance, prejudices, and delusions.

              1. Thanks, I had forgotten those.

            2. That’s kind of funny coming from someone who uses the term “cosmotarian” non-ironically.

              And fears can be perfectly legitimate concerns as well.

              I don’t think that most people here who argue against open immigration are ignorant or racists.

              1. “I don’t think that most people here who argue against open immigration are ignorant or racists.”

                Well, you shouldn’t because they aren’t.

                1. Oh, well if you can confirm it, then it must be true.

    2. Chapman doesn’t work for Reason.

      1. They publish him and their other writers (Shikha, for example) are no better.

  6. ISIS orders female genital mutilation.…..utilation/

    1. Thank heavens Obama is standing up for women, eh?

    2. The sad thing is that might be a less painful topic to discuss than immigration.

  7. Again, my favorite column from Steve Chapman is, “Steve Chapman is on vacation this week.”

  8. There’s no sugarcoating it – people don’t entirely see eye to eye on this subject.

    1. THAT’S A DAMN LIE!!!!

      Oh, wait a minute….

  9. Apparently, resurgence in Whooping Cough and TB are illusions. Also, have we not seen a relatively large number of Reason articles related to the “responsibility” of immunization?

    Reason writers/editors want open borders – we get the picture, but please don’t pull the racism card.

    1. No racism here folks. Just a lot of southern white congressmen warning us about the unwashed diseased hordes. Nothing to see here, move along sir.

      1. It may smell, sound, and behave exactly like 19th century xenophobia, but don’t you dare call it that!

        1. This is xenophobia – cite.

          1. Fear of the foreigner. It’s right there in the definition. Overblown fears that foreigners are going to kill us all with their “disease” is literally the textbook definition.

        2. it may smell sound, and behave exactly like 20th century Jesse Jackson/Al Sharpton/Abe Foxman “DAT BE RAYCISS” race hustling, but don’t you dare call it that!

    2. Resurgence of TB-cite?

      Resurgence of whooping cough-cite? And it’s probably a lack of vaccination.

      1. See my link about about TB.

    3. Apparently, resurgence in Whooping Cough and TB are illusions.

      Could also have something to do with morons who for some reason think that a woman who’s only talent is looking good naked (Jenny McCarthy) is somehow an expert on vaccinations.

      1. Whooping cough, maybe, but there is no vaccine for TB to not be inoculated with.

      2. Opinions on vaccinations aside, that is quite a talent.

    1. Apt comment. Without the New World settlers, the Indians would still have a savage backwards society. Thank goodness immigration overcame the reactionaries amongst them.

      1. Psychopaths are usually at least interesting.

        1. Guys, if we support white genocide and endless war, we can finally be invited to those DC cocktail parties and get MSNBC to respect us. So what if we ensure democrat victories for the next century?

      2. How did that work out for the Indians? It is really comical you are so stupid that you point to the example of Indians as a reason to let hoards of people across the border.

        1. In the short term, bad but only because of communicable diseases that would have eventually killed them all anyway. In the long run they get to join civilization. Since modern immigration is incapable of being anywhere near as bad, this baseline demonstrates the massive benefits of mass immigration.

          1. In the long term badly. Their culture and civilization disappeared and they ended up penned up on reservations and losing their culture and way of life. There were no benefits to immigration for Indians other than providing the opportunity not to be Indians anymore.

            If you want to be left with no choice but be something else, mass immigration is a great way to do it.

            1. It’s pretty stupid to compare colonization with modern immigration. In cases where Europeans actually did join Indian societies, there were benefits to both groups. It was Europeans setting up their own independent settlements and killing or forcibly relocating the natives through warfare that did them in, after smallpox took its toll. And in terms of policy, there was nothing the natives could do to stop it. The Europeans had a major technological advantage and it wasn’t very long into colonization that they gained a major population advantage as well.

              1. THIS.

                Comparing modern immigration to colonization, as either a pro-immigration or anti-immigration argument, is quite possibly the dumbest thing I’ve seen on these comment threads in a long, long time. Seriously, Tony comes off as more intelligent.

          2. Are you aware that Native Americans exported Syphilis to Europe ?

            One of the European’s early cures was mercury poisoning.

            1. Say what you will, but the mercuery treatments worked at mitigating the symptoms. There were no better options available at the time.

              1. I didn’t say one thing or another about the efficacy of the cure.

                I simply said what it was.

          3. In the long run they get to join civilization.

            So what “civilization” are Central American teens bringing us? MS-13?

            1. Funny because most are fleeing MS 13 and the only report I’ve seen so far shows 16 kids in 57,000.

              16. Also MS 13 would be pretty easy to screen with all the ink.

              1. Funny because most are fleeing MS 13

                Funny because you are taking them at their word. It’s known that people are coached to say things like that. And that’s 16 that we know of.

                Also MS 13 would be pretty easy to screen with all the ink.

                But they aren’t screening them, and every MS-13 member doesn’t have ink.

                1. Yeah I’m taking the word of the Border Patrol screening them, the folks who are usually feeding the tabloid hysteria. 16 in 57,000 is so pitifully small, it’s functionally negligible especially when they are screened out, *which is how they got found out in the first place*.

                  And while it is true some MS 13 shot callers are moving away from the ink look, due to the prison culture element, younger and lower ranking members are still inked up like a newspaper. It’s like catching Al Qaida members if they had “JIHAD4LYFE” tatted on their face.

                  But go ahead, continue criminalizing the many for the crimes of the few. For liberty of course.

        2. Those of you who read more than me (probably everyone) are familiar with Mark Twain’s assessment of American Indians.


          I was news to me. Whatever. I am fascinated by this though:

          That season is the summer, and the prey that a number of the tribes hunt is crickets and grasshoppers! The warriors, old men, women, and children, spread themselves abroad in the plain and drive the hopping creatures before them into a ring of fire. I could describe the feast that then follows, without missing a detail, if I thought the reader would stand it.

          Please, go on. I want the details.

    2. Because coming here to escape drug violence and/or work the fields totally is the same as smallpox, ethnic cleansing and mass warfare.


      1. This is what bordertards actually believe.

        1. It’s amazing how that talk of liberty, free markets and limited government goes out the window when it’s some scury brown folks.

          1. The Immaculate Trousers already addressed that.

          2. I see it’s not only progressives who keep a few race-aces up their sleeves.

            1. Yeah I’m sure it was all coincidence that the guy who helps author Heritage’s “amnesty” “study” also authored a hack dissertation about how non-whites are genetically stupider and thus this needs to factor in our immigration laws and who we issue visas to (aka let’s mix eugenics and immigration like we did in the 1920s!).

              All just coincidence.

        2. You really are as uninformed as John says.

          Yes, there’s the spread of exotic disease resulting from these kids crossing the borders is overblown. But that’s not an argument for open borders.

          You would have hundreds of thousands of people from random third countries in the world just cross the borders without proper health screening? And disease isn’t like isolated incidents of crime, you only need one carrier to affect a whole bunch of people.

          Americans who are as likely to suffer or carry these diseases (lice, or whatever) as immigrants have a LEGAL RIGHT to be here.

          Some exotic diseases (more likely to originate in poorer parts of the world) may not be apparent in health tests. IF you obtained a legal citizenship, then that’s a risk that country can take. For random individuals trying to cross the border by the thousands, less so.

          1. “Yes, the fear of spread of exotic disease from these kids crossing the borders is overblown. But that’s not an argument for open borders.”


          2. I’m curious as to how legality of residence has any effect on the health outcomes of a person’s infection, or why that’s even relevant to a libertarian argument where legalism isn’t exactly seen as a valid argument. Your overall point would be valid if we were talking about a debate between one side proposing totally open borders and the other side arguing for mostly open but with a health check. Those aren’t exactly the parameters of the current immigration debate.

          3. You would have hundreds of thousands of people from random third countries in the world just cross the borders without proper health screening?

            That’s what we have now. If legitimate border crossings were more open, it would be a lot easier to screen out criminals and disease carriers. It would also make it a lot more likely that people would just come temporarily to work and then returning home rather than staying on, collecting welfare, and having US citizen children.

          4. Speaking of being uninformed, here’s a straw man for everyone to enjoy.

  10. “Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins, who has helped in bringing some of the kids to Dallas to be housed, told The Dallas Morning News, “The diseases that the children carry are, for the most part, diseases that go through every elementary school in (Dallas Independent School District) every year. ”

    Hilarious argument. The Dallas ISD is full of illegal immigrant children.

    1. Yes, another silly “Don’t worry, we already have those diseases” argument.

      1. In for a penny, in for a pound.

  11. Maybe one of these kids will be carrying the virus that finally brings about the Zombie Apocalypse.

  12. I realize Chapman is normally pretty shitty, but I don’t understand the hostility towards this article.

    This article is somewhat along the lines of a Bailey article, trying to nail down the actual risks so that the various hysterias about things can be properly judged. Chapman presented some evidence that worries about diseases are overblown. And then, we get commentters sputtering, “But, but… precautionary principle!” just like the hand-wringers about GMO foods.

    I live in League City, and I can tell you that the ordinance they passed was based almost totally on evidence-free fear mongering. And it was authoritarian to the core. It actually had drivel like

    all appropriate agencies of the City of League City are instructed to prudently exercise the City’s police power in any manner necessary to protect the health, safety and welfare of the citizens of League City

    Any means necessary? Well, the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th, and 14th Amendments have something to say about that. The ordinance has no chance of doing anything other than be a circle-jerk for the xenophobes.

    1. You mention the precautionary principle but you might remember that not all suggestions to be cautious are based on Pascal’s wager.

      1. No, but I expect suggestions to be cautious to be based some amount of evidence of danger and not mere conjecture.

        In addition to Chapman’s evidence that the observed rate of serious disease is not detectable, and that not-so-serious, easily cured diseases are not out of the ordinary, no one has even attempted to say anything about whether keeping all of the people out could have any effect on the rate of these diseases at all.

    2. I agree with your take. Chapman is normally pretty bad but this article wasn’t terrible. I thought it was much better written than dalmia’s normal articles on the subject (high bar, I know). I think people just freaked out about that one paragraph that said racism might play some role in why this stuff gets overblown. Which should be pretty uncontroversial. It’s not like he said that was the only reason anyone cared or made that the central thesis of his article.

      1. Racism could be involved, but it could also be a lot of other things that are less hot-button-y.

        Things like nationalism, nativism, protectionist impulses, zero-sum thinking, and more.

        It’s a bit hard to talk about all that, so: EBOLA!!!

        The real problem here is just the plain old logistical nightmare of dealing with this. It’s probably right to deport most of them, while at the same time making it much easier to come in legally.

    3. Was it an actual ordinance or just a resolution with no actual teeth in it?

      1. You’re right, sasob, I did use the wrong word, which is important. It was a resolution. But it was presented as if it had teeth, and ignorant people were asking questions about if cops could break down their doors.

        Truly, just a circle-jerk.

        Whenever fears are put forth in such a transparently hysterical manner, red flags should go up. That’s why it’s easy to think that something else is behind it. Fear is the fuel for government power.

    4. Hey Neighbor.

      I live in Webster, just over the Egret Bay Bridge on Clear Creek.

      1. No property taxes in Webster!!

      2. Oops, I meant to say “Hey neighbor” back at you. So, Hey Neighbor!

    1. Sure. A single anecdote should decide policy for thousands of immigrants.

      Oh, and this breitbart story you linked to is part of the fear machine. They disingenuously put a huge scary picture of a Hispanic man being arrested on an airplane. Oh no!! A man with “drug-resistant strain of tuberculosis” (from Mexico!) is on a plane! The worst case scenario! Except, the picture has nothing to do with the actual events.

      Breitbart, your agenda is showing. How embarrassing!

      1. When people point out the problem of diseased illegals, we are told it’s just an old, untrue prejudice. When specific instances are cited, we are told it’s “anecdotal.” When we cite studies that show that certain diseases are connected with immigration, we are told that those diseases are already here, or we’re called “xenophobes” and “racists.”

        It’s your agenda that is showing.

        1. Oh, I definitely have an agenda, you know, my opinion about things. But, I’m not trying to trick people into believing something is worse than it actually is, like attaching that picture to the story.

          When people are being knowingly disingenuous, I usually question their motives and honesty.

          Regardless, you have to do better on the evidence front. You have to show things like what are the base rates of the diseases in the US. You have to show things like the actual rates in immigrant populations. You have to show that immigrants can have an effect on the rate. You have to show or have models that actual harm above the base rate is real. Mere conjecture and fear-mongering is not enough.

  13. The argument about checking immigrants for disease could also be used to justify monitoring sweeps of high-risk communities, as well as small children, and their parents. The argument that immigrants will affect voting patterns is also a reason to restrict free speech and free elections. The argument that immigrants take jobs is also a reason to prohibit mechanization or efficiency. The argument that too many people will live in one place is also a reason to prohibit Americans from relocating within the country.

  14. Posted in January by the clairvoyants at “ICE [Immigration and Customs Enforcement] is seeking the services of a responsible vendor that shares the philosophy of treating all UAC with dignity and respect, while adhering to standard operating procedures and policies that allow for an effective, efficient, and incident free transport. The Contractor shall provide unarmed escort staff, including management, supervision, manpower, training, certifications, licenses, drug testing, equipment, and supplies necessary to provide on-demand escort services for non-criminal/non-delinquent unaccompanied alien children ages infant to 17 years of age, seven (7) days a week, 365 days a year. Transport will be required for either category of UAC or individual juveniles, to include both male and female juveniles. There will be approximately 65,000 UAC in total: 25% local ground transport, 25% via ICE charter and 50% via commercial air”. So is putting coyotes out of a job racketeering, or a good libertarian application of Cloward-Piven? After all, a crises, (even a manufactured one) is a terrible thing to waste. You’all have been played!

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