We believe our government should take all reasonable measures to protect Americans and immigrants alike from infectious diseases to prevent a worsening public health crisis.
While the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requires all legal immigrants to be vaccinated, there are no vaccination requirements for illegal immigrants, temporary visa holders, or visitors to the U.S.
As a matter of our national public health, it is imperative that the administration redouble their efforts to secure our borders. Further, the CDC should be directed to take action to ensure that all who enter our country show proof of vaccination.
Infectious diseases are an equal opportunity scourge, though they harm the most vulnerable--babies, the ill, and the elderly--the most. Americans face increasingly dangerous health risks as diseases like measles and tuberculosis spread at an alarming rate. As previously eradicated infections re-emerge around the world, including in our country, immigrants and asylum seekers also face serious, and even deadly, risks.
To prevent an impending national public health crisis, we must secure our porous borders and ensure that immigrants and others come to the U.S. legally and with verified vaccination histories.
Here are a few reasons why it’s urgent that you sign the petition:
While the CDC requires that legal immigrants are vaccinated, the same standards are not required for illegal immigrants, nonimmigrant (temporary) visa applicants, or U.S. visitors.
Attempts are made by immigration enforcement officials to assess the health status of the 100,000+ immigrants entering the country illegally or seeking to claim asylum each month. Yet, these efforts do not cover the estimated 55,000 or more people who illegally cross the border undetected each year.
No longer are immigrants at the border preponderantly young men from Central America, but instead, they come from everywhere -- from Ukraine to Africa to Bangladesh.
A significant majority are family units or unaccompanied children, and children are more susceptible to illness than adults. In May alone, more than 50,000 children were apprehended entering the country illegally, and many apprehended were ill.
Testimony from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) says we now face “increased risk of life-threatening incidents and impact to public health” and family units are released with “unknown vaccination status and without a standard medical examination for communicable diseases of public health concern.”
Far worse than ever before, we face an urgent infectious disease threat to public health for both American citizens and unvaccinated immigrants themselves:
As of June 13, 2019, there have been a record 1,044 reported cases of measles in 28 states nationwide just since the beginning of 2019.
There are now measles cases in every state along the southern U.S./Mexico border.
Cases have been traced back not only to travellers abroad, but also to visitors from other countries.
Over half of the 2019 measles cases are in New York in the Orthodox, vaccine-free community. Those who aren't vaccinated are at greater risk.
The decrease in vaccinations in the U.S. is already causing real harm, particularly to those who are unable to receive vaccines. Babies, for example, cannot be vaccinated against measles until a year old.
Diseases like measles can be easily transferred through simple acts, like coughing and sneezing, and can stay in the air or on surfaces for up to two hours. Infected individuals won't show any symptoms for the virus for one to three weeks.
There are considerable risks of Zika, mumps, Ebola, tuberculosis, which the World Health Organization states is the world’s most deadly infectious disease.
Immigrants who are in the U.S. illegally usually don’t seek traditional healthcare outlets and instead rely on an underground market for health care, making it harder for the CDC to know about every infectious disease case in the U.S.
Border control is a public health issue. The outbreak of infectious diseases is a tremendous public health risk to American citizens and immigrants alike. That’s why it is urgent that our government intervenes at the border to stop the spread of infectious diseases and prevent a worsening public health crisis.