Saturday, June 30, 2007

Darn the Right Wing Pundits

The other night Jon Stewart on the Daily Show skewered the right wing news commentator who had argued against the proposed immigration bill saying that immigrants were bring leprosy and tuberculosis into the United States and that they were criminals, smugglers, homosexuals, and other bad things. I do not listen to these guys, and was shocked. How can we allow such misinformation to circulate. Of course there is freedom of speech, but the media should also drop from their payrolls the false pundits that spread misinformation. Congratulations to the Daily Show for holding the offenders up to ridicule. They deserve it, and the ridicule may help reduce their power to misinform the credulous (of whom we have all to many, if the polls showing continuing pockets of support for the Bush administration are to be believed.)

Just for the record, the United States records about 200 to 300 new cases of leprosy a year, less than one per million inhabitants, and there is no evidence that those new cases are immigrants or caught the disease from immigrants. Moreover, the disease is treatable by modern drugs, and is not that fearsome. Indeed, in the past many skin conditions were mistaken for leprosy, and the disease generated an unwarranted fear in people. It is in fact not highly communicable.

The fear mongers not only showed their disdain for their audience, they probably put their ignorance on display!

TB is a global problem, and one that deserves more support from the United States. Too bad the right wing pundits did not suggest the United States provide more foreign assistance to fight TB where the prevalence is high (and more research on the disease) rather than suggesting we try to protect ourselves by limiting immigration. Indeed, if one were really worried about TB in immigrants, the best solution would be to provide immigrants a legal status that would encourage and allow them to seek public health services. We have 12,000,000 illegal immigrants in the country, and more coming every day. Would it not be better to have legal immigration (heavily oriented towards knowledge workers who would contribute to our society and be unlikely to carry communicable diseases), and to have compulsory health screening for the immigrants? If the only path to the United States is illegal immigration, large numbers of people will immigrate illegally, and some of them will bring with them a burden of communicable disease. This is probably not a big problem, but the way to end it is to reform immigration laws as the Congress just failed to do!


Anonymous said...

Lots of Somalian immigrants in Minnesota are spreading tuberculosis. They have a social stigma about the disease that puts them into denial for as long as possible and thereby keeps them from seeking treatment. As a result they are carriers spreading the once controlled disease. You now cannot be admitted to a hospital in the Twin Cities without having a TB test because it is spreading so fast! Thanks Somalia. We won't talk about all the young Somalian men going back to learn to be militant terrorists and coming back to Minnesota, but that story will break someday when a large enough catastrophe occurs here.

There used to be qualifications to be an immigrant and perhaps that was a good idea. My German colleagues couldn’t move to the USA because of quotas preventing them. I suggested they go buy citizenship in Mexico, then enter the US illegally. They'd be welcomed then! It was a sick joke, sick because it is so true.

My great grandparents were legal immigrants, they farmed the North Dakota prairie to earn their stay. Lived and died by their own hard work. They didn't come and get welfare, free food, free medical care, tax subsidized housing, or make government workers and package labeling support their language. You get my drift, they earned the right to become a citizen. Too bad their great grandchildren have so much of their hard work taken from them to give to others who are being taught to not work and earn their keep, just stick out a hand and the hard working spawn of old time immigrants will have their income taken to give to them, then turn around and pay ever more for medical help and other services. I can hardly afford my home now, how do I get a break?

I'm a compassionate liberal but enough already!

Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, we do have legal immigration and requirements. College educated professionals from Germany cannot exceed some 2000 individuals a year due to quotas. Heavens, can you imagine the strain on our social services with unlimited high paid educated workers coming from Germany in great numbers? We might have to lower taxes, they'd contribute so much. But they'd expect high pay, and that isn't the American corporate way, so the legislators who owe their jobs to corporate sponsors only do what provides corporations with less than legal pay workers in such high numbers there's no threat to ever having to pay a livable wage.

It isn't that Americans don't want the jobs the illegals take, it is that Americans cannot afford to have a single family home on the wages corporations want to pay, so only illegals living 20 people per 2BR house can afford to work for so little. In the mean time the living wage jobs are being move offshore, with tax $ payouts to corporations that close American factories to move them to China and the like.

John Daly said...

I don't know anything about the Somalian immigrants except the hellish conditions from which they are escaping. Clearly, if people are introducing TB into your community, the public health officials should do something about it. It should be easier to educate newcomers about hygiene than to keep people from escaping from Somalia.

Incidentally, TB infection in otherwise healthy, well nourished individuals may never actually cause a disease. A couple of my old colleagues tested positive for the agent without ever having any symptoms of the disease.

The immigrants I see, without any way of knowing if they are legal or not, seem to be working very hard as your grandparents did. They also seem to be paying their way.

Your grandparents and my parents were given a chance by our great country, and I would not deny that chance to others now.