Flu Revives Immigration Debate

By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 2, 2009 3:55 PM CDT
Residents wearing a surgical masks ride their bicycles at the Guatemala-Mexico border crossing in Tecun Uman, Guatemala, Tuesday, April 28, 2009.   (AP Photo/Moises Castillo)
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(Newser) – The swine flu virus has infected the immigration debate, with talk show comments like "fajita flu" and "illegal aliens are the carriers" drawing vehement protests from Hispanic advocates. The volatile immigration issue had cooled off on talk shows and in the blogosphere as the presidential election and economic crisis unfolded. Now, some are using the spread of the virus to renew arguments that immigration from Mexico is a threat to America.

There have been no reports of swine flu leading to incidents of discrimination or profiling of Hispanics. But some Hispanics say racist anti-immigration rhetoric fueled the recent rise in hate crimes against Latinos, and they want to prevent another surge. "Using fears over a serious and ongoing public health issue to demonize immigrants is incredibly low and incredibly cynical," said Sen. Robert Menendez.