Montgomery County Citizens Against Illegal Immigration’s Claims About Immigrants & Disease Debunked

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A group known as Montgomery County Citizens Against Illegal Immigration (MCCAII) has posted a photograph on their Facebook page that they claim proves that immigrants bring disease into the United States. From the photo they feature in their post to claims they state as facts, there are many problems with the post. In fact, one would be hard pressed to find a true statement in the post.

The photo included with the MCCAII’s Facebook post shows a man who is turned facing left. He’s shirtless and has his left arm extended over his head. From his shoulder to his hip he has a series of red spots. Here’s the caption provided with the photo.

“Is this really the future we want for our children?
Diseases coming across the Border TB, Arboviruses: Dengue, Chikungunya, Zika Viruses. Hepatitis B Virus Infection. Sexually Transmitted (HIV, Syphilis, Gonorrhea, etc.) Tuberculosis. Measles, Mumps, Chickenpox, Polio, Rubella ETC… Thanks Democrats for the risk of our KIDS”

Montgomery County is located just north of Houston, Texas, and as reported by Fox 47 News, their post perpetuates a long line of claims by a variety of groups that immigrants, legal and illegal, are bringing diseases to the U.S. Facts to support this claim are hard to find. It is a fact, however, that there have been 25 cases of polio (one of the diseases listed by the group’s Facebook post) reported worldwide this year. All of those cases were in Pakistan or Afghanistan. None were in the United States. There also is no evidence suggesting that immigrants carry more diseases than travelers in general. And while it is true that the CDC has stated that the U.S.-Mexico border is a location through which infectious diseases are spread, that spread happens through both those crossing the border into Mexico and those crossing into the U.S. and through those crossing both legally and illegally.

Even the photo included in the Montgomery County Citizens Against Illegal Immigration’s pose is problematic. It was not taken in recent months but rather dates back to 2014. The man shown was at a Customs and Border Protection facility in Texas and was part of a large influx of immigrants that year. There was a backlog of immigration cases and, as a result, facilities for those trying to enter the U.S. were filled to capacity and then some. Groups advocating for immigrants complained about conditions at overcrowded facilities, saying they were unsafe and unsanitary. The man in the photo had a case of scabies, a skin condition that spreads quickly when persons with the condition are living in crowded conditions like those in which this particular man was living.