Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich is the latest anti-immigrant Republican to claim, with absolutely no evidence, that undocumented immigrants could be sneaking across the southern border carrying Ebola, a disease that is currently contained in a handful of countries in West Africa.
Roll Call reports that Gingrich and Tom DeLay, who served alongside him as majority whip, fielded questions about immigration at a reunion last night for members of the House GOP class of 1994:
Gingrich and DeLay also fielded questions about immigration policy, though neither acknowledged the growing realization among many of their peers that if the GOP doesn’t take some affirmative stance on the issue in the next two years, they could pay for it at the polls in 2016.
Gingrich said a porous border meant undocumented individuals could come into the United States carrying Ebola. Wicker piped in that if Congress were ever to try again to pass a comprehensive immigration overhaul legislation, it would have to be piecemeal, and the very first bill — a border security bill — would need to be signed into law by the president before lawmakers did anything else.
DeLay said that he didn’t support “amnesty,” per se, but did think the GOP needed to do “some sort of visa reform” to allow immigrants to “come and work honestly” in the country.
The Ebola claim is just the most extreme manifestation of the anti-immigrant movement’s baseless attempts to link undocumented immigrants — particularly the wave of children fleeing violence in Central America — to disease, an age-old strategy meant to stir up anti-immigrant hysteria.