Likewise, tremendous infectious disease is pouring across the border.What is he talking about? The Washington Post's Philip Bump has annotated Trump's statement, but I think Bump misses Trump's point:
The idea that "tremendous infectious disease" is coming across the border is questionable. Undocumented immigrants don't undergo the same sort of health checks that documented immigrants do. There was an apparent outbreak of scabies -- caused by mites -- during last year's immigration crisis, and an incident of chicken pox halted processing at another center. Immigrants were blamed for a recent measles outbreak, but that was likely unfounded. The good news is that if "tremendous infectious disease" is crossing the border, it doesn't seem to actually be infecting anyone.Yes, wingnuts have blamed immigrants for those cases of scabies, chicken pox, and measles -- but Bump overlooks another disease outbreak that inspired a lot of right-wing rage last year. I think it's the outbreak that Trump principally has in mind -- even though no one's found any actual evidence that links it to immigration. (Not that that would ever stop a wingnut.)
I'm thinking of the outbreak of enterovirus EV-D68 infections. The virus usually causes illnesses that resemble colds or the flu, but it's sometimes linked to polio-like paralysis and muscle weakness, as in several cases in the U.S. involving children last year. A number of children died after exposure to the virus.
This outbreak coincided with a refugee crisis on the southern border involving children from Central America (and also with the arrival of Ebola in America) -- so, naturally, Wingnuttia blamed the enterovirus outbreak on the refugee kids. Prominent among the blamers was Sharyl Attkisson -- yes, the Benghazi obsessive who blamed a malfunctioning backspace key on her laptop on clandestine administration operatives. Attkisson is also a disease conspiratorialist -- she's a vaccine skeptic (as is Trump) -- and, on her website last October, she irresponsibly speculated about a link of enterovirus to immigrants:
Link to Illegal Immigrant Children?Except that, as even World Net Daily acknowledged, in the course of breathlessly retransmitting Attkisson's scaremongering ("Mystery Virus Found Where Illegal-Alien Kids Sent"), the disease was showing up in places far from where the undocumented children were, and it wasn't showing up in the border state of Arizona:
... The CDC hasn’t suggested reasons for the current uptick or its origin. Without that answer, some question whether the disease is being spread by the presence of tens of thousands of illegal immigrant children from Central America admitted to the U.S. in the past year.
... Though the U.S. government is keeping secret the locations of the illegal immigrant children, there are significant numbers of them in both cities in which the current outbreak was first identified, Kansas City, Missouri and Chicago, Illinois, according to local advocates and press reports.
While not proving the Enterovirus outbreak originated with the Central American children, the CDC reports on its website confirmed EV-D68 cases in 44 states and the District of Columbia since mid-August. That includes states, such as Montana, North Dakota and Wyoming, which have very few illegal minors. Meanwhile, Arizona, a common crossing point and holding ground for illegal aliens, is one of the six states that have not had a confirmed case of EV-D68.Prior to that, as Media Matters noted at the time, enterovirus and immigration were linked on radio and TV by Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Pat Robertson, and others. This is from Limbaugh's website on September 8:
Here's the thing: No one's found any evidence to link the enterovirus outbreak to immigrants. The wingnuts don't have any evidence and responsible scientists don't know why the disease flared up. In fact, scientists aren't even sure that enterovirus caused the severe symptoms seen last year; a report from the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control says,
As yet, an epidemiological link has not been established between EV-D68 and the neurological illness clusters reported in several States across the US....Between 2008 and 2010, the CDC reports, there were enterovirus outbreaks in the Philippines, Japan, and the Netherlands; in recent years enterovirus has been detected in France, the U.K., Finland, and Germany. Hard to imagine how those outbreaks could be caused by immigrants crossing the southern border of the United States.
But that hasn't stopped the right. And I'm assuming Donald Trump is an avid consumer of at least some of the wingnut media sources I've cited.