The battle over border control continues.
President Barack Obama has requested $3.7 billion in emergency funds to combat what some are calling an immigration crisis on the Mexican border.
Lawmakers say there’s a surge of unaccompanied children from Central America trying to cross the border. And according to U.S. Rep. Phil Gingrey, R-Georgia, they’re bringing something dangerous along with them. Gingrey claims:
"As you know, the United States is currently experiencing a crisis at our southern border. The influx of families and unaccompanied children at the border poses many risks, including grave public health threats. As a physician for over 30 years, I am well aware of the dangers infectious diseases pose. In fact, infectious diseases remain in the top 10 causes of death in the United States. … Reports of illegal migrants carrying deadly diseases such as swine flu, dengue fever, Ebola virus and tuberculosis are particularly concerning."
PolitiFact examined the claim and rated it PANTS ON FIRE. Staff writer Linda Qiu says the Ebola virus only exists on one continent.
“We talked to experts at the CDC and they told us that there've been no reports of Ebola virus anywhere in the western hemisphere,” Qiu said. “And the disease is mostly endemic to Africa.”
CDC scientists went on to say it’s extremely unlikely for a child or an adult entering the United States from Central America via Mexico to be infected with the Ebola virus.
Even if a traveler was infected with Ebola, independent experts say that person would be so sick there's a good chance he or she would die on the journey to the United States.
When reached, a spokesperson for Gingrey cited communications with border agents and organizations that deal with immigration, but didn’t provide any other details. Because of those things, PolitiFact rated the claim PANTS ON FIRE.
SOURCES: EBOLA CONCERNS IN IMMIGRATION CRISIS?
- PolitiFact's ruling
- Phil Gingrey, letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, July 7, 2014
- Atlanta Journal-Constitution, "Phil Gingrey: Border kids could spark epidemics in U.S.," July 8, 2014
- World Health Organization, Ebola virus fact sheet, accessed July 17, 2014
- CNN, "Ebola 2014: Death toll, new cases on the rise in Africa," July 17, 2014
- NBC News, "Vectors or Victims? Docs Slam Rumors That Migrants Carry Disease," July 9, 2014
- MSNBC, "GOP making alarmist claims against migrant children," July 15, 2014
- Slate, "A Public Health Crisis at the Border," July 3, 2014
- Daily Beast, "D.C. Moron Phil Gingrey Spread Ebola Fever Over Immigrants," July 15, 2014
- Daily Beast, "At Least Two ‘Border Kids’ Have Swine Flu," July 2, 2014
- KRLD, "Border Patrol Looking To House Immigrants In Abandoned Warehouses Along Rio Grande," June 27, 2014
- Fox News, "Border Patrol union claims scabies ‘outbreak’ threatens agents, public," July 07, 2014
- Texas Tribune, "Health Officials: Immigrant Surge is a Medical Crisis," June 24, 2014
- The Common Sense Show, "Ebola, Drug-Resistant TB, Dengue Fever Are Coming Into the U.S.," July 1, 2014
- American Thinker, "Hey! Doesn't Barack Obama Care About Brown People?" July 7, 2014
- PrisonPlanet.com, "Obama Intentionally Exposing YOU to Deadly Diseases," July 3, 2014
- WND, "TB, swine flu assaulting border agents: Who's next?" June 30, 2014
- Email interview with Arthur Caplan, director of the division of medical ethics at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, July 17, 2014
- Email interview with Daniel G. Bausch, head of the virology and emerging infections department at the U.S. Naval Medical Research Unit No.6 in Lima, Peru, July 18, 2014
- Email interview with Thomas Fekete, section chief for infectious diseases at the Temple University School of Medicine, July 18, 2014
- Email interview with William Schaffner, infectious-disease specialist at Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, July 17, 2014
- Email interview with Daniel J. DeNoon, spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, July 17, 2014
- Email interview with Cameron Harley, spokesman for Phil Gingrey, July 17, 2014