One of the most persistent talking points that the anti-immigrant movement has been throwing out about the influx of Central American children fleeing to the United States has been the fear that the children will carry exotic diseases such as Ebola and introduce them to the United States. These fears are not only completely unfounded, but play on some of the most insidious anti-immigrant stereotypes.
So, it was a pleasant surprise today when someone at the right-wing outlet Newsmax neglected to do their homework and invited an actual infectious disease expert to discuss the supposed problem with host J.D. Hayworth, a former Republican congressman.
Hayworth eagerly prompted Dr. Peter Hotez, an infectious disease specialist at the Texas Children’s Hospital, to confirm the anti-immigrant movement’s fears about Central American children bringing “widespread infectious diseases into the United States.”
“I actually think the threat of diseases coming into the United States from Central America is fairly remote,” Hotez told a shocked Hayworth.
Hotez then went on to explain how the real problem causing the spread of disease in the U.S. is widespread poverty, at which point Hayworth cut off the interview.
Correction: This post originally misspelled Dr. Hotez’s name.