Conservatives are coming up with multiple kinds of excuses in order to deport the Central American child refugees, all while trying to hide their true prejudice against them. Case in point: “Our schools cannot handle this influx, we don't even know what all diseases they have. Our health care systems can't withstand this influx,” recently said U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, trying to make a healthy safety case for deportation and “war” against these children.
Sadly for conservatives, their excuses and lies simply don't match up to the facts. In a horrible twist of irony, according to statistics by the United Nations, Central American children have a higher vaccination rate than U.S. children.
More below the jump.Last week, Rep. David Simpson (R-Longview), a tea party official, came under extreme scrutiny by conservatives after he confessed feeling sympathy for these child refugees. Simpson is asking other conservatives to show a bit more compassion towards these children fleeing extreme violence. He wrote for TribTalk later on about his experience seeing these children in person, and how their suffering touched his heart:
“Standing in the detention centers in Weslaco, McAllen and Del Rio and at a shelter in Los Fresnos earlier this month, hearing the stories, seeing the faces and looking into the eyes of children and parents, I saw that hope is the driving force behind the current surge of families and unaccompanied minors crossing our border,” wrote Simpson in this past week's TribTalk.
“How we treat these asylum seekers will reveal to a great degree how secure and beautiful America really is,” argued Simpson.
Yet many constituents of Simpson aren't feeling the compassion.
“I believe your constituents should come first when you talk about people who are impacted,” said a constituent of Simpson at one of his town halls hosted last week. “You are to represent us, and we have children. These (immigrants) are people that are coming in with leprosy, tuberculosis, polio.”
“I've got four kids and a fifth one on the way. These (Central American) kids have scabies and influenza, viral pneumonia, leprosy. These kids are going to be part of the school system. … They are bleeding Texas (Democrat) blue,” argued another constituent.
As reported by the Texas Observer, the health lies conservatives are using as an excuse to deport these children are misleading and untrue. Statistics by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) show how prevalent vaccinations are in Central America. The argument that these children are limping their way to the U.S., stricken by “third-world diseases,” is simply an old prejudice tale associating immigrants with sickness.
In just one example from UNICEF reports, when compared side by side, 93 percent of children are vaccinated against measles in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador. Children in America? 92 percent.
Taking a quick look at a map highlighting the global outbreaks of measles, mumps, rubella, polio, and whooping cough from 2008 to 2014 in each country, shows the U.S. colored in outbreaks, while Latin America continues to hold strong against these diseases.
One might be wondering: How can developing countries in Central America have higher vaccination rates than, say, in Texas? Well, for one, Guatemala has a universal health care system, and their government provides full coverage for children's vaccines.
Texas, on the other hand, is struggling with 1 out of every 6 children not being covered by health insurance. Even those who are covered, often times, end up having to pay for vaccinations themselves. How can children receive their vaccinations when their families cannot afford them? Perhaps if we had better health coverage in Texas, our vaccination rates would be better than or match those of Central America.
And then there's the other question many of us might be puzzled by: Haven't conservatives been the ones leading the anti-vaccination “movement”? Since when did they suddenly change their minds about vaccines?
Hypocrisy at it's grandest.
Regardless of conservatives' true feelings — be it fascist, racist, or simply anti-immigrant — every day it becomes more clear to everyone that the only time Republicans want to work on immigration, is when it comes to deporting children. And that they'll make up whatever excuse to see these kids be returned to the horrors they are fleeing.
Follow Omar on Twitter at @AraizaTX.