We believe our government should take all reasonable measures to protect Americans and immigrants 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:
Threats of Infectious Diseases:
Far worse than ever before, we face an urgent infectious disease threat to public health for both American citizens and unvaccinated immigrants themselves.
There are considerable risks of measles, Zika, mumps, and tuberculosis, which the World Health Organization states is one of the world’s most deadly infectious diseases.
There is also a severe risk of Ebola, which continues to rampantly spread in the Democratic Republic of Congo, leading the World Health Organization to declare a global health emergency.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) testified that says we now face “increased risk of life-threatening incidents and impact to public health.”
Record Number of Measles Cases:
According to the CDC, as of August 1, 2019, there have been a record 1,172 reported cases of measles in more than half (30) of all U.S. states just since the beginning of 2019.
The CDC says there are now measles cases in every state along the U.S.-Mexico border.
The CDC notes measles cases have been traced back not only to U.S. travelers 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.
The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that babies, for example, wait until 12 months of age to be vaccinated against measles.
According to the CDC, diseases like measles can be easily transferred through simple acts, like coughing and sneezing, and can stay in the air or on surfaces for several hours.
Infected individuals won't show any symptoms of the virus for one to two weeks.
Inconsistent CDC Requirements:
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.
Immigration enforcement officials attempt to assess the health status of the 100,000+ immigrants entering the country illegally or seeking to claim asylum each month.
Yet, there are still tens of thousands who sneak in undetected. U.S. Customs and Border Patrol reported more than 100,000 illegal immigrants evaded capture in 2019 to date—the most in five years.
Change in Immigration Trends:
Immigrants at the border are no longer predominantly young men from Central America. Instead, they come from everywhere—from Ukraine to Africa to Bangladesh.
In 2019, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol documented illegal immigrants from 52 countries, including Congo, where they not only have a massive measles outbreak, but also the second largest and most deadly Ebola outbreak.
A significant majority are family units or unaccompanied children, and children are more susceptible to illness than adults.
According to U.S. Customs and Border Patrol, in May and June alone, more than 85,000 children were apprehended entering the country illegally, and many apprehended were ill.
DHS also testified that family units are released with “unknown vaccination status and without a standard medical examination for communicable diseases of public health concern.”
According to reports from The New York Times, 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.