Pima County Health Director: Health Threat From Unaccompanied Children Very Low
There's no merit to the hysterical claim that unaccompanied children from Central America are posing a health risk upon their arrival to the U.S., according to Pima County's health director.
Pima County Health Department Director Francisco Garcia has been investigating the claims made by politicians and others that some sort of serious health threat exists, such as diseases being carried over, but he hasn't seen any serious risk.
"I continue to believe that the unaccompanied minor children transiting through Pima County and the approximately 273 residing within the Tucson shelter facility present a very low risk threat to the health of the public in this jurisdiction," Garcia wrote in a letter to the county administrator. "This conclusion is based on my best understanding of the current processing and medical system that is in place to serve these children, the minimal interaction between the children and the public, the contracted obligations of the current sheltering facility, as well as reassurances from out federal partners."
Garcia says he's had briefings with Customs and Border Protection, Immigration and Customs Enforcement, the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Health and Human Services, the Office of Refugee Resettlement, the Centers for Disease Control, and the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Recall the recent protest against the children, instigated by Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu. A news report says Babeu "reached out to Homeland Security expressing public safety and health concerns."
There have been several congressman who have perpetuated the apparent myth that these kids are big disease carriers.
In Garcia's letter, he actually sees a health risk to the children making this journey to the United States:
The health and well-being of Pima County is my sole priority, and I will continue to follow this evolving humanitarian situation. Although the safety and health of the children who are making the long and perilous journey from Central America is a concern, the risk is really to these children and not to our larger community. As always I will keep you informed if there is a significant change in my assessment of the level of threat.
Got a tip? Send it to: Matthew Hendley.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Phoenix New Times' biggest stories.
- Abused Circus Elephant Nosey Gets Help From Arizona Congressman Raul Grijalva
Fri., Nov. 27, 7:00pm
Fri., Nov. 27, 7:30pm
Sat., Nov. 28, 8:00pm
Sat., Nov. 28, 8:00pm
- Gilbert Anti-Abortion Textbook Sticker Decision Didn't Violate Arizona Law
- Joe Arpaio's Escaped Child Rapist, Adrian Cruz, Back in Phoenix