by Craig Masters
In his article posted to WorldNet Daily, celebrated Northern Colorado Gazette editor Jack Minor reports on the dangerous increase in multi-drug resistant (MDR) TB flowing over the U.S. – Mexican border. In her recent commentary lawyer and best selling author Phyliss Schlafly discusses the Nepalese man currently in medical isolation in Texas while being treated for extensively drug-resistant tuberculosis, or XDR-TB, the most difficult-to-treat kind. NPR online reports that health authorities are keen to protect his privacy.
This Nepal man is now in an immigration and customs detention facility in Texas in so-called medical isolation. We don’t know how many of our U.S. Border Patrol and medical personnel may have been infected before his life-threatening disease was diagnosed. What we do know is that he carried the ancient disease across our southern border illegally after traveling through 13 countries. He probably infected people all along the way.
In several feature articles over the past few months, the Wall Street Journal has warned of the increasing dangers posed to Americans by drug resistant strains of tuberculosis being introduced from individuals crossing the 2000 mile U.S. border with Mexico.
As early as 1999 the World Health Organization warned that as many as 70 million people would die by 2020. In 2012 the WHO revised that estimate up in the light of the increase the number of cases of XDR-TB. The problem they reported as the cause for the increase instead of the decline in cases is that people in third world countries often stop taking their medicine after they feel better instead of completing the entire treatment course. This allows the TB to regenerate and evolve into a drug resistant strain. It isn’t enough to supply the medicine, health workers must take the time to watch the people take the entire course.
One-half of the total reported cases of TB in the country are reported to be in California alone, while Texas accounts for more than 20% of the total. The costs to taxpayers is staggering. Once detected, these drug resistant strains of TB require years of medication and isolation while being a danger to the lives of Americans assigned to care for them. A recent CDC study estimates the cost of treatment on average to be $140,000, and some cases run as high as $700,000.
Schlafly writes that during the “heyday of immigration through Ellis Island, prospective immigrants were medically screened and sent back to their home country if there was evidence of TB. Today, instead of screening undesirable people at the border, we are asked to pay our health workers to treat them.”
With the danger to Americans increasing and the World Health Organization projecting more than 5 million people a year dying from these drug resistant strains, it might seem appropriate to ask what – if anything – the administration is doing to prevent the spread and resulting deaths of immigrating TB. The answer is to employ a flaw in the 1992 North America Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) which, if employed outside the intent of the agreement, “allows Mexicans without limit to work legally anywhere in the U.S. or Canada. The purpose is to make the U.S. border as open to workers as it has been for goods and investment.”
Schlafly writes that “opening our southern border for any or all Mexicans to work in the U.S. would not only mean an open door to disease but also be a plan to make jobs go to foreigners instead of to the Americans and legal immigrants who are now swelling our unemployment.”
While the ‘amnesty administration’ continues to refuse to enforce immigration laws or build the fence mandated and signed into law in 1993 by Bill Clinton, more Americans will die and more money will be spent treating illegals with TB.