Obama Administration: Undocumented Child Migrants Are Not Spreading Disease

Federal agencies are pushing back against Republican claims that the children who are crossing the Southern border undocumented are bringing communicable diseases with them. 

Johnny Hanson/Houston Chronicle

Administration Disagrees With Assertions by Columnists

The Obama administration has denied suggestions by at least two columnists that the children migrating to the United States from Central America are potentially spreading communicable diseases.

“CDC does not believe the children arriving at U.S. borders pose a public health risk to the general public or U.S. communities,” a spokesman for the Administration for Children and Families at the Department of Health and Human Services told Journal-isms Wednesday in an email, referring to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Syndicated columnists Ruben Navarrette Jr. and Cal Thomas had suggested otherwise, as did protesters who confronted buses carrying some of the children last week in Murrieta, Calif.

“In the case of the border kids, it turns out that those worries about diseases were not so far-fetched after all,” Navarrette wrote last week for the Daily Beast. “And so I was wrong to dismiss them so quickly.”

Navarrette also wrote, “The real worry was those children who had — by mid-June — already been relocated around the country, to unsuspecting communities as far away as California and Pennsylvania? What then? Before we knew it, we could be dealing with a national health emergency.

“Now, sure enough, that once inconceivable nightmare scenario that we were all afraid to ponder could be one step closer to coming true. The culprit: H1N1, more commonly known as ‘swine flu.’

“The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently that an unaccompanied minor from Central America has the H1N1 flu. The minor, who entered the country in the last few months, had recently been — along with 1,000 other border kids — relocated to Lackland Air Force base in San Antonio. . . .”

Thomas, in a column for Tribune Content Agency this week, wrote, “The Department of Homeland Security website publishes a list of restrictions and prohibitions on aliens wishing to enter the United States. Among those barred are people with ‘a communicable disease of public health significance .’