Doctor: Illegal Immigrants Traveling on Commercial Flights Pose Public Health Threat

Doctor: Illegal Immigrants Traveling on Commercial Flights Pose Public Health Threat

HOUSTON, Texas–The feds are currently loading thousands of illegal immigrants onto planes–many of which are commercial aircrafts–and sending them to cities across the U.S. This transportation practice has raised significant health-related concerns, amid revelations that many of the migrants are never medically screened prior to being sent to various U.S. locations. 

Ramiro Cordero, a Border Patrol spokesman in El Paso, told Breitbart Texas that instead of administering thorough medical checks, “we ask a series of verbal questions. We talk to the people to determine if we need to take them for further medical care. We’re not medical providers.” 

Given that about 50 percent of the illegal immigrants are being transported via commercial aircrafts, any U.S. citizen who flies on the same planes afterwards could potentially face serious health risks. 

Dr. Elizabeth Lee Vliet–a preventive medicine physician and former Director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons–told Breitbart Texas, “Medical concerns on these planes is definitely a legitimate issue.”

Vliet mentioned that lice and scabies–both of which have been found to be prevalent within the migrant population–can “live in plane seats.” She added, “Many other viruses can live on surfaces as well–that’s how sicknesses spread on regular planes all the time.” Numerous illegal immigrants have also been diagnosed with tuberculosis (TB), a disease that can be fatal and is spread through the air. Vliet claimed that TB poses a threat planes passengers–the extent of the danger depends on “how rapidly the affected air droplets spread and how many of them get into the plane’s circulation system.”

Illnesses could be contracted more rapidly on aircrafts if they are not thoroughly cleaned after transporting every load of migrants. 

Breitbart Texas reached out to Ameristar Jet Charters, one company providing planes to the federal government. An Ameristar representative told Breitbart Texas that planes are “wiped down” after each trip, but refused to go into further detail. 

In Vliet’s view, infected migrants “should be quarantined, then sent home” instead of being sent further into the interior of the nation. 

Ultimately, the doctor argued that the lack of transparency surrounding diseases in the migrant population make it hard to assess risk to U.S. citizens who fly on commercial planes. “[The feds] are not being upfront about what’s going on,” she said. 

Whatever the case, the threat will likely only get greater as time progresses; Breitbart Texas recently reported that the Department of Homeland Security will spend nearly $100 million during Fiscal Year 2015 to transport illegal immigrants across the U.S. 

Follow Kristin Tate on Twitter @KristinBTate