From time to time, I take time away from my book writing duties and my regular column writing to address concerns and comments from readers.
I get it all. I get some thoughtful, linearly constructed arguments and then I get circularly argued ones that make my head spin just trying to figure out where they are coming from and what exactly they are trying to say.
But I like them all (readers are who keep me syndicated in more than 21 publications), I try to learn from most, and take some time, on occasion, to try to answer them. Trying to answer them usually ends with my doing what good writers do—check, recheck, and then double check sources readers claim prove their points. I do investigative reporting!
So here goes, ready or not, hold on, and let's see what we have to discuss today.
Reader Comment One: "… and more terrifying are thousands of cases of TB and hepatitis they (migrant Mexican workers) spread into Los Angeles."
I contacted Center for Disease Control and spoke with Jessica Frickey, Health Communications Specialist. Ms. Frickey said this:
"I am attaching CDC’s most recent fact sheet on 2004 TB surveillance data. You will see that while TB was at an all time low in 2004, progress to eliminate disease may be slowing.
As far as your specific question about illegal immigrants causing a rise in TB, CDC’s data shows that foreign-born individuals – whether illegal immigrants or legal immigrants – accounted for more than half of TB cases reported in 2004. Overall, racial and ethnic minorities also face higher rates of disease than white Americans, with both Hispanics and Blacks at a rate that is 8 times higher than whites and Asians 20 times higher than whites.
Despite these numbers, CDC does not have data to show that foreign-born individuals have caused an increase in TB in recent years."
What I find so interesting is that this reader's comment,
"…the thousands of cases of TB and hepatitis they (migrant Mexican workers) spread into Los Angeles.",
was spouted with absolutely NO stats to support supposition. His figure, "thousands of cases", when REALITY is that in year 2004 was at an all time low. I wonder just where this reader got his facts. And do not miss fact of what Ms. Frickey pointed out: