Target: U.S. Representative Todd Rokita
Goal: Stop claiming that immigrants from Central America might have Ebola
The seemingly unrelated issues of undocumented immigration from Central America and the new outbreak of the Ebola virus in Africa have come together in recent times as lawmakers claim that immigrants might be carrying the disease. Representative Todd Rokita is the latest U.S. politician to make the connection, according to Talking Points Memo. While Ebola is a frightening sickness, and one that has been in the forefront of people’s minds recently, the fact remains that it is impossible for immigrants from Central America to have Ebola because the virus is currently only found in Africa.
Fear of disease has often been used as an excuse to attack immigrants, legal or otherwise, to the United States. According to Slate, undocumented immigrants have been falsely accused of spreading leprosy, tuberculosis, syphilis and bedbugs just since 2005. Rep. Rokita is hardly the first person to question the health of immigrants, but that does not excuse his conduct. The issues of immigration and health are not helped by these kinds of baseless accusations.
The best way to deal with difficult and important issues is to stick to the facts and avoid stoking fear. Rep. Rokita is in a position to work constructively on the issues of immigration and Ebola instead of frightening people about unrealistic situations. By signing this petition, you will urge the representative to stop equating immigration and Ebola.
Dear Representative Rokita,
Your recent comments that suggested that undocumented immigrants from Central America could be infected with the Ebola virus were not conducive to calm discussion of these issues. There is absolutely no reason to suspect that any such immigrant could possibly have Ebola, considering that the disease has not left Africa. This is no time to stoke fear; the issues of immigration and Ebola are important ones that should be dealt with calmly.
As a U.S. Representative you are in a prime position to deal with these issues in a constructive manner, instead of frightening people. I urge you to stop insinuating that Central American immigrants could spread Ebola.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Cynthia Goldsmith via Wikimedia Commons