Public Schools Face Health Threat from Illegal Aliens

Washington, D.C. – An unabated influx of illegal aliens along the southern border of the United States is causing a health crisis in the border region. Actions by the Obama Administration to disperse illegals across America while providing an incentive for more illegals to come could lead to a nationwide health crisis that is likely to manifest itself first within our public schools.

Members of the Project 21 black leadership network say President Barack Obama’s support of amnesty for illegal aliens and his 2012 executive memorandum deferring enforcement of immigration law for specific younger illegals encouraged an incoming wave of what the Obama Administration calls “undocumented alien children.”

With them, and the adults travelling alongside, have come communicable diseases.

Federal law subjects legal immigrants to a medical screening process (and even has health safety rules covering the importation of animals). These rules are not being applied to illegal immigrant children.

The federal government is, largely clandestinely, sending these children (some of whom are adults lying about their age) to various U.S. locations and ordering local school districts to allow them to enroll in the public schools.

Project 21 members note any health impact resulting from these federal policies will have a disparate health impact on black children, who are disproportionately likely to attend public schools and also disproportionately likely to live in the public school districts to which the federal government is sending the illegal aliens.

Facts and Figures

  • The official visa application process administered by the U.S. Department of State for legal immigrants contains a thorough medical screening process. The Immigration and Nationality Act created medical eligibility requirements that include a review of an applicant’s medical history, a physical exam, chest x-ray and blood test. Applicants must admit to and show treatment for conditions such as tuberculosis, mental illness and drug abuse as well as prove they are vaccinated for multiple diseases including mumps and polio. An inability to do so jeopardizes an application and legal entry into the United States.1
  • A July 30 memo to Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson from DHS Inspector General John Roth about the oversight of “unaccompanied alien children” and children traveling with families found that “[m]any UAC and family units require treatment for communicable diseases, including respiratory illnesses, tuberculosis, chicken pox and scabies.”2 The report further notes that Border Patrol agents at the Del Rio, Texas facility said they contracted scabies, lice and chicken pox, with at least two officers reporting their children also contracted chicken pox. Agents at other facilities reported exposure to tuberculosis.3
  • A Border Patrol facility in Artesia, New Mexico was quarantined in July after an outbreak of chicken pox.4 40 illegals were quarantined at a Chula Vista, California facility at the same time for scabies and lice. Ron Zermeno, a union representative for Border Patrol agents, told ABC’s 10News in San Diego, California: “I think the public needs to be aware. The average citizens [are not] aware because they could be exposed tomorrow.”5
  • After reportedly showing signs of sickness for several days, a young illegal immigrant detained at Lackland Air Force Base near San Antonio was hospitalized in June after being diagnosed with the H1N1 flu virus, which was an international pandemic in 2009. Because the child was not isolated during the contagious stage of the virus, the government rushed 2,000 does of vaccine to Lackland as a precaution.6 Four other children were diagnosed with the H1N1 virus at two detention facilities in Brownsville, Texas at the same time.7
  • A draft memo written by Border Patrol Deputy Chief Ronald Vitiello on May 30, 2014 and obtained by the Associated Press estimated that around 90,000 unaccompanied children may illegally enter the United States during the 2014 fiscal year that ends on September 30, 2014. The trend is expected to cause this number to expand to 142,000 in the 2015 fiscal year. Still more children not counted in that figure arrived with family members.8 As illegal children are processed, it is the intent of the Office of Refugee Resettlement to release them from government facilities to “to a sponsor, typically a parent or relative, who can care for the child while their immigration case is processed.”9
  • Illegal immigrant children cannot legally be denied enrollment in public schools under the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in the 1982 case of Plyler v. Doe.10 On May 8, 2014, Obama Administration Attorney General Eric Holder reinforced the Plyler ruling when he said that “[p]ublic school districts have an obligation to enroll students regardless of immigration status” and that the Justice Department will do “everything it can” to ensure compliance.11 Furthermore, a May 8, 2014 joint letter from the U.S. Department of Education and U.S. Department of Justice to school districts across America warned against any actions that may “chill or discourage the participation, or lead to the exclusion, of students based on their or their parents’ or guardians’ actual or perceived citizenship or immigration status” because such actions “contravene Federal law.”12

  • In seeking to comply with the Obama Administration mandate on prospective illegal immigrant students, the Virginia Department of Education issued a memo to school district superintendents about enrollment requirements which stated, in part, that schools “cannot exclude from school attendance those homeless children who do not provide the requisite health or immunization information required of other students.”13 There were 2,856 illegal alien children released into Virginia in the first half of 2014.14 Prince William County Director of Communication Services Phil Kavits told the Bristow Beat that the suburban Washington, D.C. county has “no number or estimate of registrants related to the recent increase in unaccompanied minors crossing the border” because schools cannot record a child’s immigration status.15 This combination of factors causes some to fear unvaccinated illegal aliens may be invited into Virginia classrooms.
  • The potential for young illegals with communicable diseases could affect schools and the local children as well as their families. This presents a potential disparate impact for black Americans due to the fact that black children disproportionally attend public schools in which young illegals are most likely to be assigned. According to the 2010 American Community Survey data compiled by the U.S. Census Bureau, 93 percent of black boys between the ages of 5 and 19 and 92 percent of black girls in that same age group who were in school were enrolled in public schools.16 Additionally, illegal alien migration within the United States tends toward major metropolitan cities and, increasingly in recent years, to urban and rural areas in southeastern states — areas which tend to have higher black populations. Dr. Vernon M. Briggs, Jr., of Cornell University wrote in 2010: “…some of the fastest growing immigrant concentrations are now taking place in the urban and rural labor markets of the states of the Southeast — such as Georgia, North Carolina and Virginia… Indeed, about 26 percent of the nation’s foreign-born population are now found in the states of the South… many of these new immigrants in this region are illegal immigrants.”17

  • The United States and Mexico appear to have a more effective policy for eradicating disease among livestock than with people. The two countries are currently working together to prevent the spread of bovine tuberculosis. The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service has a five-year strategic plan in conjunction with Mexican authorities to manage the transport of cattle across the border in ways meant to stop the spread of tuberculosis among livestock.18

  • During the mass immigration of the early 20th century, the Ellis Island processing center in New York had a two-doctor initial screening process for arriving immigrants19 and a hospital that handled thousands of treatable medical conditions.20 On average, 20 percent of arrivals were pulled aside for additional screening.21 Immigrants with incurable conditions at that time such as trachoma (pink eye) were “almost sure to be sent back where [they] came from.”22 “We were lucky,” said Lillian Guletta, who arrived in 1928, “there were many sent back.”23 As a result of this screening and treatment process, “[n]o major epidemic was ever traced to an immigrant who entered American after being treated at the [Ellis Island] hospital.”24

What Project 21 Members Say About the Public Health Threat of Illegal Immigration

george_sm“Historically, immigrants who legally sought entry to America — such as those through Ellis Island — went through a structured process which allowed them to be checked for communicable diseases. In some cases, those found to present a health risk were quarantined until they no longer proposed a threat. In others, they were sent back to their country of origin… The American population is already at risk with illegals being dropped off at bus stations and being put on commercial airlines. It could potentially escalate this fall if sick children are placed in schools and expose their classmates, teachers and extended families.” — Project 21 member Dr. Elaina George, a board-certified otolaryngologist, in an upcoming New Visions Commentary to be published by Project 21

dozier_sm“‘Ring Around a Rosie’ is a morbid nursery rhyme believed to tell the tale of the Black Death — the bubonic plague that besieged Europe in the 14th century and London in 1665.25 This plague was carried by humans, rats and fleas. To escape the disease, families moved across Europe in droves and inadvertently carried it with them. In order to slow the plague, countries closed their borders and created strict regulation for the entry of people, food, plants and animals. Illegal immigration across Europe contributed to over 25 million deaths over a five-year period in the 14 century, and many victims were children and the elderly. History shows that unsecured borders pose risks to public health. Latin America is currently dealing with a mysterious epidemic reported to cause chronic renal failure and death that has killed more than 24,000 people in El Salvador and Nicaragua since 2000.26 It has spread as far north as southern Mexico and south into Panama. Diseases such as this could be carried across our border by illegal immigrants and could create a nationwide health crisis. Chicken pox, measles, mumps and tuberculosis are already causing problems.” — Project 21 member Michael Dozier, Ph.D., an expert in homeland security issues and talk radio host who has worked with humanitarian aid missions in Africa, Asia, the Balkans and the United States

arps_sm“The Obama Administration’s refusal to properly secure our southern border poses a significant risk to our national security in general and specifically endangers the health and well-being of our children. Illegal immigrant children, possibly with serious communicable diseases, are being allowed to remain in our country and attend school under the guise of compassion. But how compassionate is it to unnecessarily expose American schoolchildren to diseases that have largely been wiped out in this country for a generation? Will children of the elites and liberals enrolled in private schools who advocate for this de facto amnesty be subjected to the same health risks as public school students?” — Project 21 member Christopher Arps, founder of the black social networking website

pittman_sm“The complete disregard for public safety displayed by President Obama, with the known threat of deadly diseases coming across the border, is unforgivable when there is an excellent chance of their introduction into our communities. An apparent failure to completely clear illegal alien children medically in the attempt to hastily inject them into communities across the country creates a clear threat to the national security of the United States. With school starting, how many communities are prepared to deal with a potential medical time bomb the likes America has never seen? Many Americans are letting their desire to help these intentionally displaced youth threaten the lives of their own children.” — Project 21 member Carl Pittman, a Marine Corps veteran who has served in law enforcement in California and Texas, and was a candidate for sheriff in Harris County, Texas in 2012

What Others Say About an Illegal Alien Health Crisis

  • “The influx of families and unaccompanied children at the border poses many risks, including pubic health threats. As a physician for over 30 years, I am well aware of the dangers infectious diseases pose… Many of the children who are coming across the border also lack basic vaccinations such as those to prevent chicken pox or measles. This makes those Americans that are not vaccinated — and especially young children and the elderly — particularly susceptible… As the unaccompanied children continue to be transported to shelters around the country on commercial airlines and other forms of transportation, I have serious concerns that the diseases carried by these children may begin to spread too rapidly to control. In fact, …some of these diseases have no known cure.”27U.S. Representative Phil Gingrey, M.D. of Georgia

  • “The [Centers for Disease Control and Prevention]’s own guidelines are clearly being violated with regards to illegal immigrants currently crossing the border… It’s not who we are as a nation to break our own laws and give preference to those who do.”28 Dr. Elizabeth Lee Vliet, former director of the Association of American Physicians and Surgeons
  • “We are sending people everywhere. The average person doesn’t know what’s going on down there… We are starting to see chicken pox, MRSA, staph infections. We are starting to see different viruses… It’s contagious; we are transporting people to different parts of the state [of Texas] and different parts of the country… Just the fact we are exposed to it, and so is everyone here in south Texas, it’s a great concern to us.”29Chris Cabrera, Border Patrol agent
  • “Americans should be told that diseases long eradicated in this country — tuberculosis, leprosy, polio, for example — and other extremely contagious diseases have been linked directly to illegals… This emerging crisis exposes the upside-down thinking of federal immigration policy… While legal immigrants must undergo health screening prior to entering the U.S., illegal immigrants far more likely to be carrying contagious diseases are crawling under that safeguard and going undetected until they infect extraordinary numbers of American residents.”30Former U.S. Representative J.D. Hayworth of Arizona
  • “Because illegal immigrants, unlike those who are legally admitted for permanent residence, undergo no medical screening to assure that they are not bearing contagious diseases, the rapidly swelling population of illegal aliens in our country has also set off a resurgence of contagious diseases that had been totally or nearly eradicated by our public health system. According to Dr. Lawrence Nickey, director of the El Paso health district, ‘Contagious diseases that are generally considered to have been controlled in the United States are readily evident along that border.’… The problem, however, is not confined to the border region, as illegal immigrants have rapidly spread across the country into many new economic sectors such as food processing, construction and hospitality services.”31Federation for American Immigration Reform

In 2014, Project 21 members have been interviewed about immigration issues over 120 times and interviewed or cited by the media over 1,250 times, including by the Fox News Special Report with Bret Baier, the O’Reilly Factor, Fox and Friends, CNN’s Situation Room, Salem Radio Network, Sean Hannity, Jim Bohannon, Bill Martinez, Radio America, American Urban Radio Network, Bill Cunningham, Roger Hedgecock, Mike Siegal, Dana Loesch, Thomm Hartmann, Progressive Radio Network, The Blaze, EurWeb, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, SiriusXM satellite radio, TVOne, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Orlando Sentinel and 50,000-watt talk radio stations including WBZ-Boston, WJR-Detroit, KDKA-Pittsburgh and WLW-Cincinnati, on current events. Project 21 has participated in cases before the U.S. Supreme Court regarding race preferences and voting rights and defended voter ID laws at the United Nations. Its volunteer members come from all walks of life and are not salaried political professionals.

Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives for over two decades, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research (

Contributions to the National Center are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated.



1 “The Immigrant Visa Process: Interview Preparation — Medical Examination FAQs,” Bureau of Consular Affairs, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C., available at as of August 26, 2014.

2 John Roth, “Oversight of Unaccompanied Alien Children,” memo to Secretary Jeh Johnson, Office of the Inspector General, U.S. Department of Homeland Security, Washington, D.C., July 30, 2014, available at as of August 26, 2014.

3 Ibid.

4 Stephan Dinan, “Chicken Pox Outbreak Puts Illegal Immigrant Facility on Lockdown,” Washington Times, July 30, 2014, available at as of August 26, 2014.

5 “Border Patrol Union Official Says Influx of Migrants Threatens Agents’ Health, National Security,” ABC10, San Diego, California, July 2, 2014, available at as of August 26, 2014.

6 Sara Carter, “First Swine Flu Case Diagnosed Among Illegal Alien Children at Texas Base,” The Blaze, June 24, 2014, available at as of August 27, 2014.

7 Todd Beamon, “Union: Swine Flu Found in illegal Immigrant Children,” NewsMax, June 28, 2014, available at as of August 27, 2014.

8 “As Many As 90,000 Immigrant Children Could Be Caught Trying to Cross US Border in 2014, Official Says,” Associated Press, June 5, 2012, available at as of August 11, 2014.

9 “Unaccompanied Children Released to Sponsors By State,” Office of Refugee Resettlement, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Washington, D.C., available at as of August 26, 2014.

10 “Public Education for Immigrant Students: States Challenge Supreme Court’s Decision in Plyler v. Doe,” Immigration Policy Center, American Immigration Council, Washington, D,C, June 15, 2012, available at’s-decision-plyler-v-do as of August 11, 2014.

11 Kelly Riddell, “No School Choice: Holder Mandates Schools Must Enroll Children of Illegal Immigrants,” The Washington Times, Washington, D.C., May 8, 2014, available at as of August 11, 2014.

12 “Dear Colleague Letter on the Rights of All Children to Enroll in Public Schools,” U.S. Department of Justice and U.S. Department of Education, Washington, D.C., May 8, 2014, available at as of August 11, 2014.

13 Steven R. Staples, “Student Enrollment Requirements,” memo to superintendents, Virginia Department of Education, Richmond, Virginia, July 25, 2014, available at as of August 26, 2014.

14 “Unaccompanied Children Released to Sponsors By State.”

15 Stacy Shaw, “VDOE Memo Said Schools Must Enroll Unaccompanied Immigrant Children Even Without Vaccinations,” Bristow Beat, Bristow, Virginia, August 18, 2014, available at as of August 26, 2014.

16 Information obtained by Project 21 from data available from the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Fact Finder web site, available at as of August 11, 2014.

17 Vernon M. Briggs, Jr., “Illegal Immigration: The Impact on Wages and Employment of Black Workers,” Cornell University ILR School, August 1, 2010, available at as of August 7, 2014.

18 “Import Live Animals,” Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, Washington, D.C., August 8, 2014, available at
as of August 28, 2014.

19 Dr. Allan McLaughlin, “How Immigrants are Inspected at Ellis Island Circa 1903,” The Popular Science Monthly, February 1905, Volume 66 pp. 357-361, as archived by Glenvick-Gjonvik Archives, available at as of August 28, 2014.

20 Sewell Chan, “Ellis Island’s Forgotten Hospital,” The New York Times, October 26, 2007, available at as of August 28, 2014.

21 Ibid.

22 Douglas Treem, National Park Service, “The Ellis Island Medical Inspection,” The History Channel, A&E Networks, available at as of August 28, 2014.

23 Lillian Guletta, “The Ellis Island Medical Inspection,” The History Channel, A&E Networks, available at as of August 28, 2014.

24 Chan.

25 Gail Berry, “‘Ring Around a Rosie’ a Brief History of the Bubonic Plague,” HealthDecide, August 21, 2012, available at as of August 28, 2014.

26 Filadelfo Aleman and Michael Weissenstein, “Mystery Disease in Central America Kills Thousands,” The Huffington Post, February 14, 2012, available at as of August 28, 2014.

27 U.S. Representative Phil Gingrey, M.D., Letter to Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., MPH, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, July 7, 2014, available at as of August 27, 2014.

28 Kristin Tate, “Feds Bend CDC Rules for Sick Illegal Immigrants,” Breitbart, July 8, 2014, available at as of August 27, 2014.

29 Navideh Forghani, “Undocumented Immigrants Bringing Diseases Across Border?” ABC15-TV, Phoenix, Arizona, June 9, 2014, available at as of August 27, 2014.

30 “Are Illegals Making the U.S. a Leper Colony?” WorldNetDaily, May 5, 2005, available at as of August 27, 2014.

31 “Illegal Immigration and Public Health,” Federation for American Immigration Reform, Washington, D.C., 2009, available at as of August 27, 2014.

Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives for over 25 years, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research. Its members have been quoted, interviewed or published over 40,000 times since the program was created in 1992. Contributions to the National Center are tax-deductible and greatly appreciated, and may be earmarked exclusively for the use of Project 21.