Chuck Green falsely claimed in a column that appeared in the June 3 Pueblo Chieftain that immigration reform legislation being considered in Congress does not contain “any provision requiring medical checks on millions of foreign nationals” seeking admission into the United States. In fact, the immigration proposals require a medical examination as a condition for entry by workers seeking to participate in the proposed guest worker program and those seeking a path to citizenship.
In a column about purported public health threats that would arise if federal immigration reform legislation passes, published in The Pueblo Chieftain on June 3, Chuck Green baselessly asserted that "[n]owhere in the proposed legislation on immigration reform is there any provision requiring medical checks on millions of foreign nationals who would be admitted to the United States." In fact, both immigration measures before Congress require a medical examination that includes an immunization check as a condition for admission into the United States.
Green's column, “TB incident warns about bigger issue,” referred to the recent case of a U.S. citizen infected with tuberculosis who crossed into the United States from Canada despite having been put on a no-fly list distributed to U.S. border guards:
Let's spend a moment talking about priorities.
If there is a supply of tainted dog food coming in from China, the supply is shut off, the source is tracked down, the product is removed and safety is restored -- all within a matter of days or weeks.
If mad cow disease is detected in a slab of beef, or a package of hamburger, the full resources of the United States is dedicated to locating the infected herd -- imports are halted, livestock detectives are put on the trail and the infected animals are destroyed.
From tainted spinach to headache pills that have been tampered with, we're prepared and willing to spend hundreds of millions of dollars -- within a matter of a week or two -- to correct the problem, as a matter of public health and safety.
Those are the priorities, and we've gotten awfully good at the task.
Not so with the trafficking of tainted human beings. Nowhere in the proposed legislation on immigration reform is there any provision requiring medical checks on millions of foreign nationals who would be admitted to the United States.
But if someone now enters the country to work legally, or comes here to become a citizen under naturalization laws, medical reviews are necessary.
Among other things, the new legislation would provide medical amnesty to illegal immigrants who would seek protection under the new law. If nothing else, that needs to be corrected before the legislation is passed into law.
Contrary to Green's claim that the legislation “would provide medical amnesty,” House Resolution 1645 -- also known as the Flake-Gutierrez immigration bill for its sponsors, U.S. Reps. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Luis V. Gutierrez (D-IL) -- requires applicants to submit to a medical examination that includes an immunization check for admission under the bill's guest worker program.
"(4) MEDICAL EXAMINATION. -- The alien shall undergo a medical examination (including a determination of immunization status), at the alien's expense, that conforms to generally accepted standards of medical practice.
Moreover, conditional nonimmigrants, or those foreign nationals currently residing in the United States and seeking a path to U.S. citizenship, would be subjected to the same standard of medical review:
(f) MEDICAL EXAMINATION. -- A conditional nonimmigrant or a conditional nonimmigrant dependent shall undergo an appropriate medical examination (including a determination of immunization status) that conforms to generally accepted professional standards of medical practice.
The same requirement applies to the dependents of such a guest worker. These two provisions can be found in identical form in Senate Bill 1348 (here and here), an immigration reform measure that the full Senate began considering on May 22.
Also on May 22, the Senate began consideration of a substitute proposal, Senate Amendment 1150. SA 1150 also requires medical examinations that include “a determination of immunization status” for prospective nonimmigrant workers and for aliens applying for “earned adjustment” under the Z visa program.