Anti-Immigrant Groups Call For Immigration Bans Following Ebola Scare » ADL Blogs
Perspectives & Information on Contemporary Civil Rights Issues
October 7, 2014 2

Anti-Immigrant Groups Call For Immigration Bans Following Ebola Scare


Jes­sica Vaughan

As news broke of the first per­son inside the U.S. diag­nosed with the deadly Ebola virus, anti-immigrant groups seized the oppor­tu­nity to use this infor­ma­tion as a way to speak out against “mass immi­gra­tion.” Over the past month, anti-immigrant groups used the same tac­tic when attempt­ing to bring the ter­ror­ist group ISIS into the immi­gra­tion debate.

In an inter­view with the Daily Caller, Jes­sica Vaughan, the pol­icy direc­tor of the anti-immigrant think tank Cen­ter for Immi­gra­tion Stud­ies (CIS) argued that Africans will try to come to the United States for treat­ment. She attempted to back up this claim by equat­ing Ebola patients with unac­com­pa­nied minors flee­ing vio­lence in Cen­tral Amer­i­can and seek­ing refuge in the United States, claim­ing both are try­ing “to take advan­tage” of U.S. bor­der pol­icy. Vaughan has made prior big­oted state­ments about immi­grants. In 2008 Vaughan claimed, “One legacy of TPS (Tem­po­rary Pro­tected Sta­tus for refugees) has been its con­tri­bu­tion to the bur­geon­ing street gang prob­lem in the United States.”

Vaughan’s col­league, Mark Kriko­rian, con­tin­ued the argu­ment in a col­umn for National Review Online, titled, “Ban Travel from Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea—Now.” In the col­umn, Kriko­rian again voiced his oppo­si­tion to Mus­lim immi­gra­tion to the United States, stat­ing, “Why has the gov­ern­ment per­mit­ted the num­ber of Saudi immi­grants in the U.S. to dou­ble in just three years?… Why are we going to ‘greatly expand reset­tle­ment for Syr­ian refugees’?”

Anti-immigrant extrem­ists also used the Ebola news as an oppor­tu­nity to call for a reduc­tion to immi­gra­tion. In an Octo­ber 1 arti­cle, Patrick Cle­burne, a writer for the racist web­site VDARE founded by white suprema­cist Peter Brimelow, stated, “My own ques­tion: why does Amer­ica need immi­gra­tion from this famously unhealthy part of the world any­way?” Cle­burne ended his arti­cle by claim­ing the U.S. needs to revisit the Immi­gra­tion and Nation­al­ity Act of 1965, which abol­ished racial quo­tas con­tained in pre­vi­ous immi­gra­tion laws. Also on Octo­ber 1, the Tea Party Immi­gra­tion Coali­tion headed by racist Rick Olt­man posted an arti­cle on its Face­book page about Ebola ask­ing, “Is this how Obama will kill us?”

The anti-immigrant move­ment often paints immi­grants as dis­ease car­ri­ers in an attempt to cre­ate a cli­mate of fear around the issue and call for a restric­tion on immi­gra­tion. Attempt­ing to cap­i­tal­ize of the recent Ebola diag­no­sis is the lat­est exam­ple of this trend.

  • Joey

    Is this the Defama­tion League or the anti-defamation league? So, Amer­i­cans are sup­posed to role over and die of ebola and allow their sys­tem be over­whelmed by this alien dis­ease, also ascribed as a ter­ror threat in many cir­cles, else be LABELLED “anti immi­grant extrem­ists?” One sur­mises the league con­sid­ers ebola a gold­mine for new anti-American news head­lines, as well as for law suits.

  • ter­ryuno .

    From the Jew­ish Daily For­ward Oct. 24 2014:

    These pre­cau­tions [about Ebloa] came after a highly pub­li­cized meet­ing Prime Min­is­ter Ben­jamin Netanyahu con­vened 10 days ago, where he announced that Israel is pre­pared to stop the entry of Ebola patients into its borders.

    Netanyahu went on to define these steps as “part of Israel’s gen­eral efforts to pro­tect our bor­ders from ille­gal infil­tra­tors and terror.”

    This is not the first time that African migrants and fear of con­ta­gious dis­eases are men­tioned in the same sen­tence. Sev­eral offi­cials and the Israeli media have made it a habit to asso­ciate epi­demics with Africans who reside in Israel.

    While he was still the inte­rior min­is­ter of Israel, Eli Yishai said that African migrants bring in “a range of dis­eases such as hepati­tis, measles, tuber­cu­lo­sis and AIDS.”

    Michael Ben Ari, while serv­ing as an MK, rejected the idea of an Israeli girl going to school with African kids and said, “Who knows what dis­eases they carry. These are very seri­ous viral diseases.”

    In May 2012, promi­nent Israeli physi­cians warned that asy­lum seek­ers from Africa are “a real health time bomb.” Two months later Tel Aviv’s Ichilov hos­pi­tal barred them from enter­ing the hos­pi­tal to visit fam­ily and friends in order “to min­i­mize health risks.”

    Con­cerns of ter­ror­ism are often men­tioned with regard to African migrants as well. In mid-2011, the mayor of Eilat sent an urgent let­ter to the defense min­is­ter fol­low­ing the arrival of dozens of asy­lum seek­ers in his town. In his let­ter he argued: “Today they are infil­tra­tors, tomor­row they are ter­ror­ists.” When Yishay formed a task force to deal with the “infil­tra­tors prob­lem,” it released a report that cited the risk of ter­ror­ism as a jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for remov­ing and pre­vent­ing the entry of African migrants.

    Netanyahu declared war on those he defines as infil­tra­tors and ter­ror­ists a long time ago. Through­out his term and espe­cially in the past year we have wit­nessed just how exces­sive the means to pur­sue this war can be. Plac­ing Ebola next to these two terms not only sig­nals to Israelis that the Ebola threat to Israel is real and scary but also serves to remind them, once again, that the three are linked.