Congress

These Politicians Want to Close the U.S.-Mexico Border Because of Ebola

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Oct. 9, 2014, 10:37 a.m.

Mex­ico has nev­er seen a case of Ebola be­fore. But for some politi­cians wor­ried about a po­ten­tial out­break of the deadly vir­us on Amer­ic­an soil, that doesn’t mat­ter.

Scott Brown said Thursday that he doesn’t want un­doc­u­mented im­mig­rants cross­ing the U.S.-Mex­ico bor­der be­cause they might be car­ry­ing Ebola.

“People com­ing in through nor­mal chan­nels—can you ima­gine what they can do through our por­ous bor­ders?” the New Hamp­shire sen­ate can­did­ate said in a ra­dio in­ter­view. Brown was re­spond­ing to a ques­tion about clos­ing the bor­der to com­bat the spread of the Ebola vir­us.

Ebola could in­deed enter the U.S. through someone trav­el­ing to the coun­try—and it has, but not through Mex­ico. Thomas Eric Duncan, a 42-year-old Liberi­an man who flew from Mon­rovia to Texas last month, died Wed­nes­day of the dis­ease in a Dal­las hos­pit­al.

But there have been no re­por­ted cases of Ebola-in­fec­ted mi­grants en­ter­ing the U.S. through the bor­der with Mex­ico.

Brown is not the first law­maker to sug­gest clos­ing the na­tion’s south­ern bor­der to pre­vent in­fec­tious dis­eases from hitch­ing a ride with mi­grants. In early Ju­ly, Rep. Phil Gin­grey, R-Ga., sent a let­ter to the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion about the is­sue.

“Re­ports of il­leg­al mi­grants car­ry­ing deadly dis­eases such as swine flu, dengue fever, Ebola vir­us, and tuber­cu­los­is are par­tic­u­larly con­cern­ing,” Gin­grey, a med­ic­al doc­tor, wrote.

In a WIRC talk-ra­dio in­ter­view in Au­gust, Rep. Todd Rokita, R-Ind., ref­er­enced a con­ver­sa­tion he had with Rep. Larry Buschon, R-Ind., in which the pair dis­cussed their con­cerns that mi­grant chil­dren from South Amer­ica could bring Ebola to the U.S. In a Tues­day de­bate with North Car­o­lina Sen­ate hope­ful Kay Hagan, Rep. Thom Tillis at­tacked his op­pon­ent for her weak stance on un­doc­u­mented im­mig­rants. Tillis claimed that “we’ve got an Ebola out­break, we have bad act­ors that can come across the bor­der; we need to seal the bor­der and se­cure it.”

Some law­makers, like Rep. Ted Poe, R-Texas, have called for a ban on all travel from West Afric­an coun­tries, where the Ebola out­break is con­cen­trated.

The CDC has re­peatedly warned that clos­ing U.S. bor­ders won’t help.

“I wish we could get to zero risk by seal­ing off the bor­der,” CDC Dir­ect­or Tom Frieden told Fox News earli­er this week. “But we can’t.”

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