Fox News personality Laura Ingraham has claimed that the migrants currently heading for the US border may carry diseases. Speaking about the so-called ‘migrant caravan’, Ingraham said they must be stopped because of the potential spread of disease.
“This is a national security issue, an economic issue – It costs taxpayers billions of dollars to take these people in,” Ingraham said. “It’s a health issue, too, because we don’t know what people have coming in here. We have diseases in this country we haven’t had for decades.”
“We have thousands of people coming in,” Ingraham said last night. “Maybe most of them are unarmed, all of them are unarmed for all we know. We don’t know. This is an invasion into this country and the American people are seeing this play out.”
Ingraham is correct to say that certain diseases have returned in recent years that were not seen for decades. However, in 2015 Ingraham claimed that measles was not a big deal. Measles is one of the diseases that has returned to the US, largely through a decline in vaccinations.
“Measles is not generally a deadly disease,” Ingraham said three years ago. “I’m not saying anyone wants to get measles but I know a bunch of kids in our school growing up had measles, and chicken pox, measles. I mean we just got this! It wasn’t a big end of the world.”
Also in 2015, Ingraham hosted Republican Senator Rand Paul, who claimed that vaccines should not be mandatory. The link between declining vaccination rates and outbreaks of diseases like measles is undeniable. For someone so concerned about disease, Ingraham has a poor track record when it comes to disease prevention.
There is no evidence that any of the migrants in the caravan are armed. However, Ingraham’s unfounded claims echo Republican talking points form the 2014 midterm elections. At the time, GOP candidates stoked fear about the Ebola virus. Research shows that fear of the disease helped Republicans in that year’s elections.