What IS it with conservatives, immigrants, and disease?
Republicans have previously fearmongered about and/or blamed immigrants for ebola, swine flu, and enterovirus — despite zero evidence for any of the above. Just today, Maine’s Republican Gov. Paul LePage claimed that undocumented immigrants bring hepatitis and HIV to the United States.
And then there’s the measles resurgence, which Republicans are also now trying to pin on immigrants. As Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) put it this week, via Think Progress:
Appearing on the Matt Murphy radio show Tuesday morning, Rep. Mo Brooks (R-AL) was asked by the host whether he saw any correlation between immigration and the measles outbreak that has erupted in the United States.
Brooks began by offering a red herring that “illegal aliens” are bringing new diseases into the country, before going on to suggest that they could be behind measles as well.
Said Brooks: “It might be the enterovirus that has a heavy presence in Central and South America that has caused deaths of American children over the past 6 to 9 months. It might be this measles outbreak. There are any number of things.”
Keep in mind that — as Dara Lind at Vox reminded us today — countries like Mexico have a significantly higher rate of childhood vaccinations than we do (99% to our 92%). And keep in mind that an American missionary was blamed for a measles outbreak in 2014.
It’s not stopping conservatives from continuing to make absolutely baseless accusations, as Breitbart did yesterday in a I’m-not-saying-it-but-I’m-saying-it post entitled “Did Border Crisis Trigger Measles Outbreak?” Rush Limbaugh followed, falsely calling Central American children a “flood of measles-infected kids…[who] have not been vaccinated”.
Freed from the burden of proof, what will conservatives attack immigrants for next?