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Information and Hysteria

La Opinin, Editorial, Staff Posted: Apr 30, 2009

It did not take long for conservative voices to turn concern over the swine flu virus in Mexico into a tool for attacking undocumented immigrants.

The sport of denouncing the undocumented as responsible for all of todays ills is as convenient as it is malicious and reprehensible.

As problems arise, be it unemployment, low wages, the mortgage crisis, the budget deficit, and now swine flu, there are always those who find the distorted and simplistic explanation of blaming the undocumented. It would be far more useful to seriously analyze the reasons underlying a problem, but that apparently is asking too much from those responsible for shock radio.

Slandering the undocumented as carriers of disease is nothing new. For some time, irresponsible individuals who have nothing to do with medicine have been making utterly groundless accusations. The most well-known was Lou Dobbs' poorly informed statements on leprosy.

Now with the swine flu outbreak in Mexico, conservative commentators are referring to the undocumented as "carriers" of the virus who pose a threat to public health. This opportunity has been seized upon to recycle an already too familiar discourse of hate.

Some on the radio are even speculating that the virus could be a bioterrorist attack on the United States launched through Mexico and illegal immigration. It is just absurd!

First, the swine flu cases that have appeared in the United States so far were in people who travel to Mexico. Secondly, the Arizona desert is not the only point of entry into the United States. Moreover, not even most of the undocumented entered illegally over the southern border. At least half of them came with a visa and they let it expire.

The use of this medical emergency to attack the undocumented and poison the immigration debate hurts everyone with malicious lies at the very time when communication is key to being well-informed and preventing the spread of the disease. Of course, these individuals care more about ratings driven by paranoia and hysteria than for the public's safety.

Related Articles:

As Swine Flu Spreads, So Does Backlash Against Mexico

Swine Flu, Border Security and Public Priorities

Staying Calm Amid Swine Flu Panic

Swine Flu Threatens May 1 Marches

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