That Didn’t Take Long: Politicians Inject Ebola into Immigration Debate

United States Representative Todd Rokita (R-Indiana)
United States Representative Todd Rokita (R-Indiana)
Government Printing Office

Everyone likes to complain about their US Representative. But the next time they do something you think is pretty stupid, remind yourself it could always be worse. They could be trying to politicize the Ebola outbreak.

Indiana US Representative Todd Rokita went on a local radio station to warn about the potential health risks associated with the Central American unattended children who are being held along the country’s southern border.

From the Times of Northwest Indiana:

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Referencing a conversation he had with U.S. Rep. Larry Bucshon, R-Newburgh, who is a heart surgeon, Rokita said they agreed there is a public health risk associated with the federal refugee agency placing immigrant children in the homes of U.S. relatives or sponsors.

“He said, look, we need to know just from a public-health standpoint, with Ebola circulating and everything else—no, that’s my addition to it, not necessarily his—but he said we need to know the condition of these kids,” Rokita said.

Rokita’s comments come a little less than a month after Georgia US Representative Phil Gingrey—who’s a doctor!—wrote a letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention expressing his concern that these kids were potential carriers of Ebola and other maladies:

As a physician for over thirty years, I am well aware of the dangers infectious diseases pose. In fact, infectious diseases remain in the top ten causes of death in the United States. However, the United States has been successful in mitigating or eradicating many diseases, and others are not indigenous to this country. As such, reports of illegal migrants carrying deadly diseases such as swine flu, dengue fever, Ebola virus, and tuberculosis are particularly concerning.

What do the West African Ebola outbreak and the immigration crisis on the American-Mexican border have to do with each other? Absolutely nothing. Gingrey’s concerns about Ebola in Central American children was so preposterous that Politifact rated his claim as “pants on fire” wrong, backing up their decision by speaking with several infectious disease experts.