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Is America Facing a Deadly Epidemic?

If the Bush administration needs any more reasons to close, or at least control the borders, here is one that should get their attention.

There's a new strain of tuberculosis (search) that has shown up in southern California among what the politically correct call the "foreign born" population. Yes, you heard right. I said tuberculosis, which was virtually wiped out in this country decades ago.

The new TB is said to be resistant to multiple drugs and the treatment that is offered costs between $200,000 and $1.2 million per person over an 18-24 month period.

All of this is detailed in the current journal of the American Medical Association (search) in an article by Dr. Reuben Granich, a lead investigator for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (search).

Granich tries to keep from offending by not labeling the "foreign born" TB carriers "illegal immigrants," but what else could they be? Most are from Mexico and most lived in this country less than five years when they were diagnosed.

He says the return of TB to America is putting a tremendous strain on the already overburdened California health care system, but it does not warrant closing the borders.

Oh yes it does!

"TB is a deadly airborne disease and a global health emergency." Those are the words of Dr. Granich. If a TB epidemic breaks out, what will the politicians say they did to prevent it, especially when the administration will not act to shut off the flow of illegals and now TB into this country?

Are the political calculations that come from Bush administration strategy to win more Hispanic votes worth putting them, and the rest of us, at risk of a deadly epidemic?

I don't think so.

And that's Column One for this week.

What do you think? Send your responses to: afterhours@foxnews.com.

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Cal Thomas is America's most widely syndicated op-ed columnist. He joined Fox News Channel in 1997 as a political contributor. His latest book is "What Works: Common Sense Solutions for a Stronger America" is available in bookstores now. Readers may email Cal Thomas at tcaeditors@tribune.com.