An ill Border Policy

By:  Pat Austin

SHREVEPORT — I’ve been following the border crisis story with interest for some time now, and as I was doing some research for a post on SIGIS yesterday, a disturbing pattern began to emerge.

Not that it’s any surprise, but the feds are, almost without exception, extremely secretive about where the illegal Central American refugees are being relocated.  Not just that, but it seems that the entire “medical screening” process has “broken down.”

What to make of this?

In many cases local and state governments aren’t even being consulted or made aware of incoming aliens (and I call them illegal aliens because they aren’t, in fact, refugees as defined by federal code.)

Consider this letter written last week by Florida State Surgeon General John Armstrong; an excerpt:

The Florida Department of Health has received unconfirmed reports that the federal government is bringing unaccompanied minors from the border to Florida today. On July 17, we received unconfirmed information that dozens of children were being brought by plane into Miami on Friday. This same day, ABC news reported that “the federal government is so overwhelmed by the current tide of migrants crossing the border it cannot provide basic medical screening to all of these children before transporting them, often by air, to longer-term holding facilities across the country.” (Feds Struggling to Cope with Medical ‘Breakdown’ at the Border, ABC News, July 17, 2014.)

Many of these people are coming across the border with contagious illnesses and in some cases the agents working in these refugee centers aren’t going home to their own families at the end of the day in order to avoid spreading disease to their own children:

Multiple sources working out of Border Patrol stations throughout Texas have reported that due to fear that their families will contract one of the many diseases being seen at the facilities in a large number of the thousands of men, women and children coming across the border on a daily basis, many of the agents are no longer returning home when their shifts end. Unwilling to expose their own children to a host of highly contagious diseases, agents are reportedly renting rooms in local motels (at their own expense), rather than returning to their homes.

It’s not just the state of Florida that is concerned; in Louisiana, Representative Fleming and Representative Bill Cassidy are among members of the state’s congressional delegation that have requested health status information and have attempted to find out how many and where any of these immigrants are being placed in Louisiana.

So far, the government isn’t saying much about where these illegals are going or about their medical status.

The eruption of weekend protests across the nation indicates that most Americans want these questions answered before these people take up residence in their neighborhoods or enroll in the local schools this fall.

And despite the kumbaya-they’re-just-innocent-children attitude of people like Amelia Ruiz Fischer at the Texas Civil Rights Project

“What it really comes down to is xenophobia and racism,” said Amelia Ruiz Fischer, a lawyer at the Texas Civil Rights Project, a nonprofit law firm that works on issues including immigration. “That might sound like a pretty extreme way to characterize it, but why else would you not want children who are not public safety risks and who are fleeing their countries trying to save their lives — why else wouldn’t you want them housed?”

…I think most parents want to first ensure the safety and health of their own families.  The government now needs to take this concern to heart as well.

 

Pat Austin blogs at And So it Goes in Shreveport.