November 25, 2003
NY Times, Sharon Lerner, 2/20/03
Across the country this week, hundreds of bus loads of illegal immigrants are bringing a message to Washington DC that they want better treatment and instant citizenship. What they don't mention is their reckless disregard for legally immigrating into the USA has created a growing health care crisis in America. They demand their rights, but they disregarded our rights by illegally crossing into our country without being health screened. It's what they are carrying that we don't want. There is another ticking bomb crossing our borders daily by the thousands--entirely unregulated, unscreened and untracked in our nation. Their numbers average two per minute and over 800,000 annually, according the Center For Immigration Studies in Washington, DC. SARS and West Nile virus make big news, but other diseases are creeping into the heartland unnoticed.
In the past 40 years, the US incidents of leprosy stood at 900 recorded cases. Today because of massive immigration from Third World countries, we have more than 7,000 people suffering with leprosy, ''And those are the ones we know about," said Dr. John Levis, physician at Bellevue Hospital's Hansen's Disease Clinic in New York. "There are probably many, many more and they are spreading." Most of those infected in the United States are immigrants from global leprosy hot spots, places: Mexico, Brazil, India and the Caribbean. But, in the past six years, Levis and his colleagues have proved that a few of his patients - including a 73-year-old man from Queens who had never been out of the country and an elderly Jewish man from Westchester County, New York - have contracted leprosy in the United States. Leprosy's symptoms--bumpy rashes, skin indentations and loss of feeling in hands and feet. As a result, The disease is now officially endemic to the Northeastern United States for the first time ever.
Another bug riding in the bodies of newcomers to America is tuberculosis. In a recent article from 'THE PATIENT PREDATOR', Dr. Reichman of New Jersey TB Clinic, "In the 1990s, cases among foreign born Americans rose from 29 percent to 41.6 percent. Anti biotic resistant strains from Mexico have migrated to Texas. Since three years ago, 16,000 new cases of TB were discovered in the United States. Half were foreign born. Strains of TB once found only in Mexico have migrated to border states of Texas, Arizona, New Mexico and California. It will move north as illegal aliens work in restaurants as cooks, dishwashers and food handlers. We sit on the edge of a potential catastrophe."
Disease is another crisis 'sneaking' across our borders in the form of unrestricted illegal immigration. Once it's inside our country, it's our problem and we will be forced to pay for it. If American political leaders okay the matricula consular card, give them drivers licenses and assist illegal immigration by not enforcing our Homeland Security laws, American citizens and their children are susceptible to more diseases. Hepatitis A,B and C run rampant in fast food workers. These diseases kill. It's that simple and that harsh.