HOUSTON, Texas–Breitbart Texas has learned that hospitals based in Southern Texas are being utilized to evaluate and treat illegal immigrants before they are sent to housing facilities around the country. The revelation could help justify claims that the tidal wave of Central Americans entering the U.S. illegally each day will clog up U.S. hospitals.
Margaret Althoff-Olivas, Director of Public Affairs for University Medical Center (UMC) of El Paso, told Breitbart Texas, “The U.S. Border Patrol (BP) has established a rotating schedule for area hospitals to medically evaluate detainees associated with the recent influx of Central American immigrants. According to the BP, all must be medically cleared before being transferred to detention centers.”
UMC El Paso Public Affairs Coordinator Renee Saavedra added that “five El Paso hospitals are currently treating [the] immigrants.”
Most illegal immigrants are captured in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley (RGV) and it is unclear if they are being screened prior to being sent to El Paso and other U.S. cities for processing and further screening, or if the secondary location screening is the first medical treatment the illegal immigrants are receiving. If the illegal immigrants are being transported via chartered commercial airliners prior to being screened, any U.S. citizen who flies on the aircraft afterwards could potentially face health risks.
Several Texas politicians have spoken out on the effects the illegal immigrants could have on public health.
Former Texas Congressman Ron Paul recently told NewsMax, “Our hospitals have already been under siege by immigrants. 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 argued that “free,” taxpayer subsidized healthcare only further incentivizes illegal immigrants to cross the border.
Many others, however, claim that screening the illegal immigrants for diseases is necessary to reduce the risk of a potential public health crisis.
Several diseases have already been identified within the migrant population. In June Breitbart Texas reported that one Central American who entered the U.S. illegally was confirmed as having the Swine Flu, also known as the H1N1 flu. In response, 2,000 H1N1 vaccinations were brought to the Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio, where more than 1,000 illegal immigrant minors are currently staying.
Congressman Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) told Breitbart Texas that President Obama’s U.S. Department of Health and Human Services–the agency currently caring for many of the unaccompanied minors–is not doing an adequate job of screening and treating diseases.
“I can tell you that the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is not taking charge of the undocumented children in any kind of reasonable time frame as they are absolutely required to do,” Gohmert told Breitbart Texas. “It is becoming more and more apparent that the Obama administration’s reckless disregard for enforcing this nation’s laws at the border has become a reckless disregard for human health and life. Even when they spend a hundred times more than necessary, they can’t even build a website.”
Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate.