Immigration Sparks Potential Public Health Crisis

By: Bridget Creel, Special Report Summer Associate                                                                                                                                                                                                   

The flooding of Central American immigrants brings many concerns to Americans and has been the forerunner for debate over the past several weeks. However, a matter that has been put on the backburner is the risk of a public health crisis that could quickly unfold after immigrants pass through to the United States. 

60,000 illegal immigrants have come into the United States over the past nine months. Each immigrant undergoes a similar procedure once they reach Border Patrol, which typically consists of a health and safety screening before they reach a detention center. Due to the excess amount of immigrants coming into the country at such a fast pace, it is evident that proper screenings cannot be successfully carried out in an efficient amount of time.

Border Patrol agents rely heavily on the results from verbal and visual inspections. These inspections warrant the risk of missing the diseases that do not turn up from physical appearance.

According to the health care policy of the United States, any communicable diseases must be assessed and treated before immigrants reach the ground within the United States. The Department of Homeland Security prohibits any immigrants carrying “a communicable disease of public health significance” from entering the country. That may seem simple enough but what is not obvious is that immigrants who do not show proof of vaccination from diseases are prohibited from entering the United States by law.

The CDC regulations require a very specific medical exam when immigrants enter the country. “During the exam, applicants are required to show proof that they have received certain vaccines. If an applicant does not have proof of having received the required vaccines, the law states that the vaccines must be given at the time of the medical exam.”

The immigrants who travel great lengths and experience life-threatening events before reaching the border are not expected to carry documents for proof of vaccination. It is up to the judgment of Border Patrol agents to decide whether or not an immigrant receives vaccination.

The problem continues to expand, literally, because immigrants are sent to areas beyond the border towns. Immigrant officials no longer have space in the detention centers located in the states along the border. The detention centers create more health concerns, as the immigrants are forced to eat, sleep and wash in the same areas. The crowded facilities leave officials no other choice but to send the immigrants elsewhere.

If immigrants are not properly vaccinated, scattering immigrants in different areas of the country will only increase the rapid spread of disease. Once diseases are dispersed throughout the country, confining and treating the diseases becomes almost impossible.

Center Seat: Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) on Border Crisis

Immigrant Children: Where do we go from here?

The Obama Administration continues to deal with the influx of thousands of Central American children who have recently entered the U.S. illegally. 

Under political pressure from both sides of the aisle on their handling of the issue, Valerie Jarrett sent a letter last night to Texas Governor Rick Perry inviting him to a previously unannounced meeting with faith leaders on immigration while the President is in Dallas on Wednesday. Jarrett also said President Obama would welcome a meeting with Perry during his trip to Texas this week. 

In addition, the White House announced today that they are asking Congress for $3.7 billion in emergency supplemental aid to deal with border crisis.

Meanwhile, the administration has decided to house over 3,000 unaccompanied immigrant children at U.S. military bases, and the Pentagon is saying it is nearly maxed out.  On Monday, it agreed to house an additional 600 children at Joint-Base Lewis McChord.

Ventura Naval Station in California can hold 575 children and is currently caring for 450. Fort Sill Army Post in Oklahoma can hold as many as 1,200 children--and they have almost reached the limit.

Some members of Congress have be granted access to Lackland Air Force Base, which is also capable of housing up to 1,200 children. 

HHS is providing the children staying at the barracks with medical care and on-site supervision.  But, it's not a role the Pentagon wants to keep.  The DOD says it will cap the number of days it can hold the children at 120.

What do you think we should do with these immigrant children? Let us know here on the blog or via Twitter @bretbaier or and we will have more on this tonight with Shannon Bream and Ed Henry on Special Report.


Thousands gather on ‘closed’ National Mall for immigration reform rally

By Gabriella Morrongiello

(Photo: Getty Images)

WASHINGTON-- Despite restricting veterans’ access to war memorials and limiting sightseeing and museum-going for tourists visiting the Nation’s capital, the government shutdown and subsequent closure of National Parks, open-air monuments and memorials did not prevent thousands of immigrants – both legal and illegal – from marching on the National Mall Tuesday to support comprehensive immigration reform.

The March for Immigrant Dignity and Respect, dubbed the “Camino Americano” or American Walk, included participants from groups like the Service Employees International Union, United Farmworkers and CASA de Maryland. Thousands turned out and listened as speakers like House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and vibrant immigration reform advocate Rep. Luis Guiterrez called for a path toward citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.

Furthermore, leading immigrants’ rights activists - joined by eight Democratic lawmakers – were arrested by Capitol Police in an act of civil disobedience with onlookers chanting “let them go” and the popular rallying cry “Sí, se Puede,”-- Yes, we can.

Though the march drew a large crowd and served to reenergize immigration reform advocates, critics questioned its clearance in the first place granted that veterans and Americans have been turned away from National Parks and memorials closed during the shutdown.

“It was troubling, the ease with which illegal immigrants can rally on a supposedly closed facility. That suggests a kind of warped priority on behalf of the administration,” said Steven Camarota, director of research at the Center for Immigration Studies-- an organization dedicated to studying the fiscal consequences of immigration.  

On its face, Camarota believes that allowing the rally to occur after veterans were turned away from the WWII memorial just last week suggests “the administration is more accommodating to people who aren’t supposed to be in the country than they are to our veterans.”

Susana Flores, a spokeswoman for the immigrant advocacy group CASA de Action who organized the march, refuted such claims.

“They [National Parks Services] allowed us to have it because it is part of the First Amendment of the constitution,” Flores told the Daily Caller.

Leslie Arias, a college student from New York who came to the march with a student group called the John Jay DREAMers, believed that “veterans should have the right to come in and see the monuments and everything because they also fought for the country,” noting, however, that the she doesn’t feel the march taking place was unfair.

“I mean I wouldn’t say it’s unfair because I feel this is a different cause, a completely different cause and it’s a different matter—I think it’s a larger matter,” said Arias. “Not to say that veterans like don’t matter, but it’s like you guys are allowed, you guys have your rights, you guys are citizens, you guys are veterans in the country. These are people that are fighting for something.”

However, other organizations fighting for various causes that also planned to hold events on the Mall weren’t as fortunate and have had to cancel or make alternative arrangements for their events. The Kicking for Kids Who Can’t Kick-a-thon sponsored by the Amputee Coalition was scheduled for Oct. 19 on the Mall, but was cancelled by organizers in light of the shutdown. Additionally, organizers of the Children’s National Medical Center’s 5k Race for Every Child had to move Saturday’s activities off of Freedom Plaza and onto Pennsylvania Ave., though the actual 5k route remained unchanged.

Joe Trippi Weighs In: Compromise on Immigration Reform?

**pardon our video camera-- we are having an issue with the auto focus button sticking. Working on this ASAP!** 

Immigration Reform

Thank you to Special Report Intern Emily Judd for this report! Let us know what you think!

North Korea: Threat of Attack

Should illegal immigrants receive in-state tuition?

A controversial bill that would allow illegal immigrants to attend college at in-state tuition rates passed last month in the Colorado Senate--3 Republicans voted in favor of the bill.  Other states have passed or are now consdering similiar measures-- often with varying conditions--and we want to know what you think about this issue. 


Vote in our poll and tune in tonight for Special Report as Dan Springer takes a closer look at this heated debate--

Will the White House and Senate come to terms?



On The Show

All indications point to US airstrikes in Syria against ISIS terrorists and we take a look at a new report on just how organized and professional the ISIS group is.

All-Star Panel

  • Stephen Hayes @stephenfhayes
  • Juan Williams @TheJuanWilliams
  • Charles Krauthammer @krauthammer

Premium Podcasts

Missed the All-Star Panel on Special Report with Bret Baier? You can now get a daily audio podcast of Fox News Channel's Special Report All-Star Panel.

Monthly Subscription
Yearly Subscription