Although this story ran for while on Fox (and ridiculed across social media) and was picked up in other media as a scare tactic against migrants and refugees attempting to enter the United States…the administration, while not putting the rumor to rest, obviously didn’t believe it…since there apparently haven’t been any medical evaluations for refugees who have actually been taken into custody at the border.
Well at least not until two minor children from Guatemala have died in American custody after complaining of illnesses and receiving limited treatment for unknown ailments (as of this writing). Now the US authorities are ordering health screenings for all children held in their custody.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection has ordered medical exams for all children it holds in custody following the Christmas Eve death of an 8-year-old Guatemalan boy, the second immigrant child to die in federal detention this month.
A little too late for at least two children, but this begs the question: What about the adults? Even if everyone left their homes healthy it isn’t a surprise that they may be suffering from health issues after the arduous journeys that they’ve undertaken. They are unlikely to have smallpox or TB or polio or whatever other dread diseases imagined at Fox. But they are likely to be suffering from dehydration, exhaustion, or an injury suffered en-route. Why isn’t everyone taken into custody given a health exam? And what if someone actually does have a major communicable disease? Can we afford having them pass it on to the other 1,000 or 2,000 or 5,000 people being detained in a refugee camp?