Former U.S. representative, three-time presidential candidate, and physician Ron Paul has spoken out publicly about the catastrophic impact the deluge of unaccompanied children illegally entering our country has had on our nation’s hospitals.
“Our hospitals have already been under siege by immigrants,” Paul said on July 2 on Newsmax TV’s The Steve Malzberg Show.
Dr. Paul, who is an obstetrician, spoke in response to the much-publicized crisis resulting from an estimated 60,000 children unaccompanied by parents or relatives who will pour into the United States this year — up from about 6,000 in 2011. Because most of these illegal immigrants are from the Central American nations of Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala, deporting them would be more complicated and expensive than sending illegal immigrants back to Mexico. Our government would have to charter planes to fly them back to their countries of origin. Many are, in fact, put on flights, but instead of being flown back home, they are sent to states other than Texas (where they were apprehended), especially to Arizona and California.
According to Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) policy, unaccompanied children who have crossed the border illegally are transferred to the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Refugee Resettlement to be housed in shelters, including those on military bases and elsewhere. Illegal immigrants who are adults are processed at Border Patrol stations for “supervised release” pending appearances in immigration court.
Many of the unaccompanied children being housed in federal facilities have been diagnosed with various communicable diseases, and some are sent to local hospitals for treatment. This naturally would cause hospitals near the facilities to become overwhelmed.
“And with these thousands, tens of thousands, who knows how many [children] ... you’re going to see some very serious health problems.... We’ve already overburdened many hospitals, Paul said to Malzberg during the interview.
“In the 19th century, when we had a massive influx of immigrants, we were still cautious about diseases.... Today, under these conditions, it just is essentially impossible to do this,” Paul added, referring to the massive, uncontrolled flow of illegal immigrants crossing our borders.
When 19th century immigrants entering our county legally were processed at Ellis Island and other immigration stations, doctors briefly examined them for signs of illness. About 20 percent were singled out for further medical examination and about one percent were sent back to their countries of origin. After 1924, immigrants had to receive a visa from a U.S. consular office abroad before being allowed to travel to the United States. A medical exam was a prerequisite for receiving a visa, and about five percent of those examined were refused visas.
In an article for Medical Daily on June 11, Dana Dovey reported that many people are worried that the cramped quarters in the government-run facilities in which unaccompanied immigrant children are being housed may create the ideal conditions for the spread of disease.
Zack Taylor, chairman of the National Association of Former Border Patrol Officers, spoke with Breitbart on June 10 about the Border Patrol’s Rio Grand facility, where many unaccompanied children are being housed, and said: “Apparently, a significant amount of communicable disease is suspected by custodial and agent personnel.”
Border Patrol agent and Rio Grande Valley Union representative Chris Cabrera told ABC 15 News in Arizona in a June 6 interview: “We are sending people everywhere [from the McAllen, Texas, facility]. The average person doesn't know what's going on down here.”
“There's been an outbreak of scabies that’s been going on for the past month,” Cabrera said.
“It's contagious. We are transporting people to different parts of the state and different parts of the country,” Cabrera added.
“Just the fact we are exposed to it, and so is everyone here in south Texas, it's a great concern to us.”
However, attempts by the media to find out more about the health risks in the housing facilities have been unsuccessful. ABC 15 reported: “DHS has denied all requests for interviews with doctors and medical staff treating sick immigrants. The agency has also turned down our request for a tour.”
And not only the media, but even members of Congress have been denied access to facilities housing unaccompanied illegal immigrant children. When Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.) tried to gain access to a Health and Human Services facility at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, on June 30, so he could see for himself under what conditions the immigrant children were being housed, he was denied access!
“There is no excuse for denying a Federal Representative from Oklahoma access to a federal facility in Oklahoma where unaccompanied children are being held,” Bridenstine said in a press release.
“After my visit today with the base commander, I approached the barracks where the children are housed. A new fence has been erected by HHS, completely surrounding the barracks and covered with material to totally obscure the view. Every gate is chained closed.”
The facility’s security staff told Bridenstine he would have to wait three weeks to gain access.
“Any Member of Congress should have the legal authority to visit a federal youth detention facility without waiting three weeks,” said Bridenstine. “What are they trying to hide? Do they not want the children to speak with Members of Congress? As a Navy pilot, I have been involved in operations countering illicit human trafficking. I would like to know to whom these children are being released.”
And so, a member of Congress and a former member of Congress have publicly pointed to two separate, but related, aspects of the ever-worsening illegal immigration crisis. Illegal immigrants sent to local hospitals to obtain treatment are overburdening those hospitals. And the conditions of unaccompanied illegal immigrant children in federal facilities are so secret that not even a member of Congress is allowed to see them.
President Obama has constantly harangued the House of Representative to pass “immigration reform.” However, the never-ending flow of illegal immigrants across our border, and the administration’s non-response (or bad reponse) to the crisis indicates that the real reform should begin at the White House and examine the administration's failure to secure our borders.
Photo of Ron Paul: AP Images