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Posts tagged "Xenophobia"

H/T: Esther Yu-Hsi Lee at Think Progress Immigration

h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW

H/T: Brian Tashman at RWW

H/T: Miranda Blue at RWW

A Texas charity has abandoned a plan to help house child migrants after conservative media outlets used misleading images to suggest displaced children would be living there in luxury conditions. In fact, the same charity operates other no-frills facilities and had planned to convert a hotel in a similar style.

Conservative media have promoted multiple conspiracy theories connected to the humanitarian migration crisis, including the accusation that President Obama “planned” the recent surge of child migrants across the border for political reasons, that migrant children are infecting Americans with rare diseases, and that Obama is allowing violent gang members to cross the border.

The charity, BCFS Health and Human Services, received a federal contract to house the children at the current site of the Palm Aire Hotel and Suites in Weslaco, Texas. Inan interviewwith local TV station KRGV, BCFS officials said the facility would undergo a renovation to create a dormitory-style atmosphere at the facility.

The plans for the new facility had calledfor 600beds for children between the ages of 12 and 17. BCFS would have taken the children from Border Patrol custody and housed them for an average of 15 days. The group also operatesa facility in Harlingen, Texas, and atemporary facilityat Lackland Air Force Base in San Antonio.

Ina press releaseon July 16, BCFS announced that it had withdrawn its plans to develop the Weslaco facility due to “negative backlash caused by information misreported to the public.”

Conservative media have mostly ignored BCFS’ statement that the facility was going to be renovated and have used marketing images of the Palm Aire Hotel to leave the impression that the children would be housed in luxury conditions.

On the July 16 edition of Fox News’The Real Story, host Gretchen Carlson described the facility as “living the American dream on the taxpayer’s dime” and highlighted the fact that the resort currently has a pool.

Correspondent William La Jeunesse used his fingers to signify air quotes to describe the “emergency” of the migration situation and suggested the plans for the hotel are a “symbol of bad federal planning.”

In a story headlined "Feds to house illegal immigrants at multimillion-dollar hotel," Fox News reporter Todd Starnes wrote on FoxNews.com that “the Obama administration could soon be housing hundreds of illegal immigrant children at a multimillion-dollar hotel complex in Texas, just a few miles from the Mexican border” and highlighted that “the 7-acre site features three swimming pools, lighted tennis courts, concierge service and a Jacuzzi.” (The text of thearticlehas since been updated and substantially revised.)

Ina tweetpromoting his story, Starnes wrote, “Feds to house illegals at hotel - with poolside cabanas and concierge service,” but at the bottom of his original story on FoxNews.com, he admitted that “the illegals should not expect concierge service at the poolside cabanas. BCFS tells me it will more than likely fill in the swimming pools with dirt.”

The conservativeGateway Punditblogsaid, “The beautiful Palm Aire resort and hotel has an indoor Olympic sized pool and an outdoor pool. Free Wi-Fi and cable TV are included in the simply decorated guest rooms.” The post used images of the hotel’s pools and tennis courts as it described the planned facility as a “resort hotel for illegal alien children.”

The post noted that the $50 million contract for the hotel’s renovation “is not part of the $3.7 billion emergency funding for the illegal alien invasion requested by the Obama administration as the bill hasn’t yet passed but it is a good indication of where the money will go.”

Gateway Pundit’s post was featured at the top of the Drudge Report, which has been pushing anti-immigrant stories for several days now.

Meanwhile, BCFS told KRGV that the interior of the new facility would look similar to the “dorm room” style of its existing facilities.

Google Mapsimagesof the hotel in 2011 show a much more mundane exterior than the luxury facility described by Fox and others.



H/T: Oliver Willis at MMFA

thenewrepublic:

In the 1830s, cholera was described as an “Irish disease.”

In the late 1800s tuberculosis was portrayed as a “Jewish disease.”

In 1900, San Franciscans quarantined Chinatown and threatened to burn it down.

In 2005, Lou Dobbs’s CNN show falsely reported that there had been 7,000 leprosy cases.

In 2006, Pat Buchanan claimed that that “clearly the illegal aliens” were to blame for the rise in bedbug infestations.

And now, a Republican is predicting a pandemic because of migrant kids.

thepoliticalfreakshow:

The bus of Central American children never arrived, ending a day of protest in a small Arizona town that drew more than 100 people on both sides of the immigration debate.

Sheriff Paul Babeu is credited with stirring up the anti-immigrant protesters through social media postings and a press release and by leaking information about the migrants’ arrival to a local activist. The Sycamore Canyon Academy acknowledged that it had an agreement with the Department of Health and Human Services to take in a “small number” of immigrant children from Central America, but it did not specify how many and when they would arrive.

"All this was done in secrecy, and that’s where a lot of people are upset," Babeu said Tuesday. "My concern (is) where’s the federal government? Why are they not here? Why did they not hold a town hall to answer some of these questions?"

He addressed both sides of the protesters, asking them to remain civil, abide by the law and keep the roads cleared. Immigrant rights activists questioned Babeu about agitating protesters when he should be bringing order as the county’s top lawman.

Babeu said he was simply informing the public and was at the site to make sure the protests on both sides were peaceful.

The protests came as the government released new numbers that show how many immigrant families and children have been pouring into the country in recent months. The Border Patrol says 55,420 family members have been caught at the border from October through the end of June, a nearly 500 percent increase from the same period in the previous year. The number includes adults apprehended with their young children, and most of them were caught in the Rio Grande Valley in Texas. In addition, the Border Patrol says 57,525 unaccompanied children have been apprehended through the end of June.

The dueling groups in Oracle had a combined 130 people at the peak of the protests, including about 80 rallying against the shuttling of immigrants and 50 in favor. Pro-immigrant supporters held welcome signs with drawings of hearts.

Emily Duwel of Oracle said she did not want her town to be misrepresented by what she said was a minority of people who were against the children being housed here.

"I’m just concerned about these children who have had to escape worlds of incredible violence," Duwel said.

A spokesman for the federal Department of Health and Human Services said the agency would not identify the locations of shelters for migrants to protect their identities and safety.

Babeu has generated controversy in the past over his immigration rhetoric. When five bodies were found in a burned-out SUV in his county in 2012, Babeu quickly declared that the killings appeared to be the work of a drug cartel. A few days later, it was learned that it was a murder-suicide of a suburban Phoenix family and not drug-related.

A massive surge in unaccompanied children crossing the border illegally began more than a month ago, turning the issue into a major political debate in Washington and in cities across the U.S. In a state known for its strict immigration laws, including SB1070, which many call the “show me your papers” law, attitudes are just as contentious.

"We are not going to tolerate illegals forced upon us," protester Loren Woods said.

The fallout began in late May when reports surfaced that immigration officials were dropping off hundreds of women and children at Phoenix and Tucson Greyhound bus stations after they had been caught crossing the border illegally. Within a week, immigration authorities were flying hundreds of children who had crossed the border into Texas alone to be processed at various immigration facilities.

Outgoing Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) derailed a CNN discussion on Tuesday about the thousands of undocumented immigrants arriving in the U.S. from Central America by calling them “invaders” and linking them to at least one rape case and an auto accident from six years ago.

“Foreign nationals that have come into the United States are between 300- to 500,000,” Bachmann told an incredulous Crossfire co-host Van Jones. “My heart is broken for a female college student in Minnesota who was raped, murdered and mutilated by a foreign national who came into our country. We had a school bus full of kids in Minnesota — four children were killed on that school bus because an illegal alien driving a van went into that schoolbus.”

“There are lines that can’t be crossed here,” Jones responded. “I’m sorry, congresswoman. Are you gonna scapegoat children for the crime of this despicable person?”

While it’s unclear which rape case Bachmann was referring to, the crash she alluded to was likely the 2008 accident that resulted in the deaths of two 9-year-old boys, a 12-year-old boy, and a 13-year-old boy riding on the bus. At the time, several conservative media outlets seized upon the fact that the driver of the van, 23-year-old Alianiss Morales, was an undocumented immigrant to criticize U.S. immigration policy.

“My tears are crying for the family members who lost four little children on a school bus in Minnesota,” Bachmann continued, before ceding the floor to Jones for a second.

“We should stand with those children, but we should not scapegoat every one of these kids for that despicable crime,” he said. “You know better as a congressperson than to lay at the feet of these children the acts of a despicable criminal.”

“Don’t scapegoat the American people,” Bachmann countered. “Van, don’t scapegoat the American people right now who are losing jobs.”

Bachmann, who has taken 23 foster children into her family, also described the increase in “unaccompanied minors” primarily from El Salvador, Nicaragua and Honduras as an “invasion.”

“We have foreign nationals who are coming across the border from countries like Yemen, Iran, Iraq,” she said.

From the 07.15.2014 edition of CNN’s Crossfire:

H/T: Arturo Garcia at The Raw Story

BERKELEY Calif. (Reuters) – Two California politicians have called for a host of Fox News Channel’s “The Five” program to resign, saying Bob Beckel’s use of the term “Chinamen” was racist.

The pundit is facing criticism for using the word on air last week as well as for suggesting Chinese computer science students come to study in the United States only to pose a security threat.

Judy Chu, a Democratic U.S. congresswoman from California, said on Monday she was deeply offended and that Beckel should go immediately.

“He condemns an entire ethnic group as being threats to national security and uses racial slurs while doing so,” Chu said in a statement. “The implications go far beyond the Chinese community by promoting a culture of intolerance that has no place in our society.”

Fox News Channel said Beckel’s comments will be addressed on Monday night’s episode of “The Five” and noted that they were made by him and not the network or the show at large.

A California state senator on Saturday called on Beckel to resign. Ted Lieu, who represents suburban Los Angeles and is running for the U.S. House of Representatives as a Democrat, called himself “one of those ‘Chinamen’ with ‘Oriental’ eyes” who immigrated to the United States and majored in computer science.

“I also served on active duty in the United States Air Force and continue to serve my country in the Reserves,” Lieu said.

“Mr. Beckel’s comments are more than just racist and stupid. His ignorant views are dangerous.”

Beckel also told his co-hosts that Americans should be worried about Chinese people because “there’s billions of them. All they do is hack into our stuff. They send us cheap toys, all of which have lead in them so they kill the kids.”

A liberal political pundit working for a conservative-leaning news network, Beckel last year said on “The Five” that his eyes look “oriental” after he swims.

An agent for Beckel did not immediately return calls for comment.

h/t: The Raw Story, via Reuters

h/t: Stephen D. Foster Jr. at AddictingInfo.org

thepoliticalfreakshow:

With thousands of children from Central America arriving at the U.S.-Mexico border, an old plague is once again sweeping the country—the fear of the diseased immigrant.

“Our schools cannot handle this influx, we don’t even know what all diseases they have,” U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) said recently. “Our health care systems can’t withstand this influx.”

Fox News commentator Cal Thomas asks, for example, if “the unaccompanied minors pouring over the border…have brought with them proof of vaccination?” Thomas accuses the border-crossers of harboring vaccine-preventable diseases such as “mumps, measles, rubella, polio, tetanus and diphtheria.”

Before demonizing undocumented children, we should look at the facts: The vast majority of Central Americans are vaccinated against all these diseases. Governments concerned about health, and good parents investing in their kids, have made Central American kids better-vaccinated than Texan kids. We fear them not because they are actually sick, but because of powerful anti-immigration narratives that link foreigners to disease.

Consider, for example, Guatemala. According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), Guatemalan kids are more likely than Texans to be immunized for most infectious diseases. Guatemala has universal health care. Vaccines are 100 percent funded by the government.

By comparison, one in six kids in Texas is uninsured, and even insured families often must pay for vaccination. That means that many Texas kids fall behind on vaccinations, or miss them altogether when their family can’t afford a doctor’s visit. Other families refuse vaccination.

Dr. Elizabeth Lee Vliet, a Fox News commentator and former director of the ultra-conservative political group Association of American Physicians and Surgeons, writes in the McAllen Monitor that measles is among the “diseases the United States had controlled or virtually eradicated” that are “carried across the border by this tsunami of illegals.”

Fact check: UNICEF reports that 93 percent of kids in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador are vaccinated against measles. That’s better than American kids (92 percent).

Furthermore, it’s absurd to claim that the U.S. has eradicated measles while Central America has not. In fact, measles outbreaks have resurged in some American cities. By contrast, according to the World Health Organization, neither Guatemala nor Honduras has had a reported case of measles since 1990.

Slate physician-writer (and Fox News contributor) Marc Siegel writes that unaccompanied minors “are a likely source” of the mosquito-borne dengue fever spreading to Texas. Siegel ignores two key public health points: First, legal immigrants and travelers are a much larger group than undocumented folks, and just as likely to carry dengue. (I don’t know about y’all, but I’ve never been screened for dengue fever at the Texas-Mexico border.)  Second, mosquitoes can fly.

Interestingly, Siegel is the author of three books—Swine Flu: The New Pandemic, Bird Flu: Everything you Need to Know about the Next Pandemic and False Alarm: Profiting from the Epidemic of Fear. That last title must be a memoir.

The narrative that foreigners bring disease has long been used to stir up anti-immigrant sentiment. In the early 1900s, the immigrant cook Mary Mallon—better known as Typhoid Mary—was imprisoned for life for infecting her wealthy patrons with Salmonella typhii.

In his book The Cholera Years, historian Charles Rosenberg describes how Irish immigrants to New York in the 1830s suffered disproportionately from cholera because they lived in poor and crowded neighborhoods. Instead of working to help them, the medical profession blamed the disease on immigrants being “exceedingly dirty.” Irish people were refused medical care, and many “wandered starved and half naked across the Canadian border.”

When Hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans in 2005, the Latino men who came to work rebuilding the city were accused of spreading infectious diseases such as chlamydia and HIV.

The targeting of vulnerable outsiders whenever disease breaks out is even older than this country. Historian Barbara Tuchman has described how outbreaks of plague in Europe would lead to pogroms. The lynchings of Jews, she writes “began in 1348 on the heels of the first plague deaths.” When we blame immigrants for infectious disease, we participate in a nasty—and deadly—old tradition.

Some diseases do flourish because of unsanitary conditions in the immigrant detention centers. For example, Fox News reports that the Border Patrol union is complaining that an agent “already has contracted the mite-borne skin infection” scabies.  Like lice, scabies is annoying but eminently treatable. It spreads anywhere people are in close quarters: summer camps, homeless shelters, college dorms.

While outbreaks of scabies are a decent indicator that conditions in the detention centers are unsanitary, scabies is not the kind of disease that should dictate immigration policy. To get rid of it, you treat the kid and wash his or her bedding.

Tuberculosis (TB) is one of the diseases most calculated to frighten Texans. On the right-wing blog Breitbart Texas, Vliet claims that immigrants with TB “are putting others’ lives at risk,” and that multi-drug-resistant TB is the “most common form” of TB in Latin America.

The latter is simply false: Fewer than 1 percent of TB cases in the Americas are multi-drug-resistant, according to the WHO. Most of those cases are still treatable. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS), no cases of the more difficult extensively drug-resistant TB (XDR-TB) were reported here in 2012.

More than 90 percent of Central Americans are vaccinated against TB, according to the WHO. The vaccine, called the BCG, is imperfect. It’s used in countries where TB is still common, but some cases will break through the vaccine’s coverage.

Americans are not routinely vaccinated. According to the state health department, the 1,233 cases of TB that occurred in Texas in 2012 were mostly along the border and in prisons. The disease has stayed crouched in those centers of poverty because it flourishes where people live in close quarters and suffer from diseases like alcoholism and HIV, which knock down their immune defenses. Eradicate poverty, and TB fades away.

Fear of disease is motivating people to move against immigrants. In League City, the City Council voted this week to prohibit the housing or processing of undocumented immigrants. The resolution cited the “threat of communicable diseases reported to be prevalent” among immigrants as a justification for the use of police power to protect “citizens” from these children.

And in Murrieta, California, protesters blocked buses carrying migrant children after it was revealed that some of them had been hospitalized for fevers.

Fear turns sick kids into a threat. But the threat of tuberculosis is overblown. The state health department is screeningunaccompanied minors for the disease. Some small percentage of them—like a tiny percentage of Texan kids overall—probably have TB. It can be controlled and treated before it spreads.

Even if these unaccompanied minors did pose a huge tuberculosis threat—which they do not—Texas is equipped to deal with it. We have clinics, first-line antibiotics and even a tuberculosis sanitarium to house folks who can’t keep up with the daily antibiotics on their own.

There are legitimate health concerns associated with human migration. But the narrative that immigrants such as these children are particularly diseased has more to do with fear than it does with science.

h/t: Miranda Blue at RWW

h/t: Miranda Blue at RWW

h/t: Brian Tashman at RWW