Nativism Watch

Citing public health concerns, Gaffney calls migrant children a ‘toxic invasion’

Imagine 2050 Staff • Jul 03, 2014

After previously calling the thousands of migrant children fleeing violence a “dangerous invasion,” anti-Muslim activist Frank Gaffney has now deemed them a “toxic invasion,” citing the reports from conservative media outlets about illnesses in the detention centers.

In a brief blog post, Gaffney stoked fear that a large number of undocumented children being detained after attempting to cross the Southern border are carrying rare diseases and will usher in a public health crisis.

“Their illnesses will become our illnesses,” he warned. Predictably, Gaffney’s solution to this humanitarian crisis is to  “repulse this toxic invasion, not treat its symptoms.”

In fact, the myth of migrant children spreading rare diseases to the public has been widely discredited. According to a statement released by the Department of Homeland Security, controls are in place to minimize any potential health risks to the public. The DHS also confirmed they are “conducting public health screens on all incoming detainees.”

Claiming immigrants represent a public health threat is a longstanding tactic among anti-immigrant activists and politicians. Gaffney’s latest comments are part of the organized nativist movement’s efforts to cast those fleeing violence and poverty in Central America as invaders,rather than victims.

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