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Trump's latest racist attack on immigrants echoes Nazi propaganda

December 11, 2018 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick, AlterNet

There are deeply pernicious trends in the president's rhetoric.

In a disturbing continuation of his years-long effort to stoke paranoia and visceral hatred of immigrants, President Donald Trump employed a false and malicious rhetorical attack Tuesday that has been echoed by both Fox News and Nazi propaganda.

Speaking to reporters in the Oval Office, Trump suggested falsely that a border wall could help reduce the non-existent problem of disease outbreaks across the border.

“One of the problems that people don't talk about, you have a tremendous medical problem coming into our country…communicable disease,” Trump said. “Tremendous problems. People don't want to talk about it.”

This line has been repeated on Fox News, where one contributor baselessly asserted that immigrants were bringing in a range of diseases including smallpox — which has, of course, been eradicated in the wild.

But the whole line of attack is just not true. While there can be cross-border concerns about public health issues, there's absolutely no reason to believe that there's a serious threat of infectious diseases coming into the United States.

“There is no evidence whatsoever that this is so,” Arthur Caplan, director of the division of medical ethics at New York University’s Langone Medical Center, told Politifact when Trump made a similar claim over the summer. “No study or survey shows this. There is no outbreak or bump in disease attributable to immigrants.”

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has noted that there can be some transmission of disease across the border. But as Snopes pointed out, this is largely because of authorized border crossings, not the undocumented immigrants that Trump is always bemoaning. (And the best way to fight the spread of these illnesses is vaccination, which Trump has also spread baseless fears about, not a useless border wall.)

Snopes also noted that when undocumented immigrants do experience outbreaks of infectious disease, it is often because of the terrible conditions they are held in by the government when confined. So while Trump argues fighting undocumented immigration is about preventing diseases, it can actually increase the spread of disease. Snopes explained:

In short, while detained …read more


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