WSJ Edit Page: "Cheap Domestic Servants Worth Disease, Terrorism Risk."
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A couple of days late and a few corpses short, state and federal health officials last week announced the news that Americans are at risk from deadly diseases because of mass immigration.  The announcements were late because only two days earlier Congress had voted for an amnesty for illegal aliens.  They were a few corpses short because at least two Americans had already died because of diseases imported by immigrants.

In Northern Virginia, state health authorities announced that "tuberculosis continues to rise" and that "immigration is fueling the spread," according to the Washington Post.

[TB Still On Rise In N.Va. Drug Resistance, Immigration Cited In Disease's Spread, Washington Post, March 18, 2002] The state Health Department released figures showing an increase of nearly 5 percent in TB cases in the state between 2000 and 2001, and 57 percent of the increase occurred in Northern Virginia itself.

As the Post explained,

"Health officials say the rise of TB ... is largely a consequence of the migration of people from parts of the world where the disease is common.  It is thought that two-thirds of the cases of TB brought into the United States originated in just three countries: Mexico, the Philippines and Vietnam."

Does that suggest to you that perhaps we might want to limit immigration from such countries, or maybe that granting an amnesty to illegal aliens from them is not such a terrific idea?

The Post also noted that testing for TB is currently limited to "those who apply for immigrant or refugee status." That's swell; the government was also not supposed to grant visas to known terrorists, but it did anyway last year. In any case, testing legal immigrants and refugees for diseases like TB is sensible enough; what's not sensible is the amnesty for which Congress has voted, allowing hundreds of thousands of totally untested Mexican immigrants to legalize their status and stay here.

TB is showing a slight decline nationwide, but a report from the Centers for Disease Control in 2000 showed that the six states with the highest incidence of the disease were the same as those to which most immigrants flock: California, New York, Texas, Florida, New Jersey and Illinois. Northern Virginia is also a Mecca (pardon the expression) for immigrants.

Tuberculosis, however, may be the least of our worries. Two days after the amnesty vote, the CDC released studies showing that two organ transplant patients in the United States have died because the organs they received were infected by a parasitic disease imported by immigrants.

The disease in question is known as Chagas, which "was previously confined to Latin America," the Associated Press reports. Now Chagas is here, and the organs infected with it that caused their recipients to die "came from the cadaver of a Central American immigrant who was apparently infected" with the parasite that causes the disease.

"It's a complex issue," intones one CDC doctor. Well, not really.

We can quibble and quack over whether immigrants should be screened for the parasite that causes Chagas, who should be screened, which test should be used and other "complex issues." The simple way to deal with it is to cut immigration and enforce current laws against illegal immigration rigorously—including rounding illegals up and throwing them out.

But that's what the amnesty vote, with the support of the Bush administration helped make impossible.

Perhaps the dumbest single statement uttered about the amnesty vote was pronounced by a Wall Street Journal editorial this week. Quoting amnesty opponent Rep. Tom Tancredo that "people will be given amnesty under this plan who may in fact be terrorists," the editorial preached that  

"To stop the next Mohammed Atta, this thinking goes, it is necessary to upend the lives of Mexican nannies in San Diego. Never mind that Atta and the other hijackers had all entered the U.S. legally."

Indeed, they did, which is a very strong argument for ending legal immigration. But at least under current law legal immigrants are in theory screened for involvement in terrorism. Illegal immigrants—whether nannies or mass murderers—aren't screened at all, for terrorism or diseases or anything else. Any terrorist wishing to enter the country would be well advised to do so illegally. They may already have done so, and the amnesty that Congress passed and the Journal supports will let them stay here indefinitely.

In the Bizarro-Planet logic by which the Wall Street Journal lives, one might as well argue that "to stop the next carrier of TB or Chagas, it is necessary to upend the lives of Mexican nannies in San Diego." Indeed, it might be necessary to "upend" their lives by sending them back to their home countries.

Protecting the safety and general welfare of the United States, you see, should be the paramount concern of the federal government—even if such protection causes an inconvenient shortage of domestic servants for Wall Street Journal editorial writers.


March 21, 2002

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