In responding to Walter Williams’ commentary “Open borders would mean further spread of disease” (Aug. 31, TribLIVE), Dr. Amesh A. Adalja, in his commentary “Undocumented immigrants, open borders are not an infectious disease risk” (Sept. 10, TribLIVE), acknowledges that Williams’ position regarding infectious diseases is supported by citing the Immigration and Nationality Act (which mandates all immigrants and refugees undergo medical screenings). Adalja indicates the government has a right to do this screening. It is not a “right” of the government to follow the laws of this country, but a duty.
Adalja speaks of various infectious diseases with a dismissive tone — that they are either preventable or treatable, or not communicable or poorly communicable, such as Hansen’s disease (leprosy); states that a few of the diseases Williams mentioned are “almost laughable”; fails to mention the increase in multi-drug resistant tuberculosis; and then bemoans the fact that all Americans are not universally vaccinated.
Adalja disingenuously accuses Williams of taking a political position regarding illegal immigration, then states the reason “undocumented immigrants” are not screened is because U.S. laws have “criminalized” them and driven them into hiding (Does that include the ones who are regularly out protesting?). Following Adalja’s logic, criminal activity is the fault of our laws, not the criminals.
Adalja conveniently omits the fact that illegal immigrants have full access to our health care system on a regular basis.
Sheila R. Krill