The outbreak of coronavirus around the world has brought attention to the need for border security to prevent the spread of infectious diseases, according to former acting U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) director Tom Homan.
Homan, author of the recently released “Defend the Border and Save Lives,” told Huntsville, AL radio WVNN’s “The Jeff Poor Show” on Friday confronting disease was a reality of border security.
“Disease comes across our borders every day,” he said. “When I was the director of ICE, we had to shut facilities down because someone had the measles, and we didn’t know it at the time — but the next thing you know, the whole facility had to be shut down. We had mothers and children — we had chickenpox running rampant through our facilities. We had to quarantine a facility for that.”
Homan recounted an instance his agency had to deal with a resistant strain of tuberculosis, which could have gotten through if immigration officials had not stopped the carrier.
I tell you — I specifically remember one case where a border patrol arrested a man, he came out of custody, and we found out through testing he had [tuberculosis],” Homan explained. ‘He had a strain of TB that was resistant to any drugs that we normally use to treat TB. So we worked very closely with the Texas Department of Health and the CDC for months, got them in isolation for months trying to figure out how to treat this rare strain of TB that we hadn’t seen before. And we eventually came up with a cocktail that could treat it.”
“But as another example — what if that person wasn’t arrested?” he added. “What if he got by the border patrol and came in? It makes sense that we not lose focus on securing this nation, on securing our border. It’s not only about keeping the bad guy out. It’s not only about saving lives. It’s not only about illegal immigration. It’s also about communicable diseases.”
The former ICE director also reminded listeners of the economic costs of illegal immigration, which could be valuable in the days and weeks ahead as the country grapples with the economic fallout from the coronavirus.
“People think illegal immigration is a victimless crime,” Homan said. “You think these people just come up to get a job and support their family. They don’t understand there’s a whole underbelly to this. No one hires an illegal alien out of the goodness of their heart. They hire them because they can pay them less, work them harder, and undercut their competition, competition with U.S. citizen employees.
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