The White House announced on Thursday that the U.S. government will begin requiring all parents with children in Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities to show proof that they have vaccinated their children against measles, mumps, and rubella (MMR) beginning in March. The White House claims the policy is directed to try to stop the spread of those diseases, which they say could be transmitted through small children during removals, such as for unaccompanied minors.
As of last week, no one had been diagnosed with measles in the U.S. this year, although over 300 people had contracted the disease in a large outbreak of the disease earlier this year in countries surrounding the U.S. border. Measles is among the most infectious diseases, with a mortality rate of around 100 deaths per 100,000.
The new requirement comes after widespread criticisms of the government’s ability to coordinate testing and treatment of those in custody who might be infected with some of these viruses. In December, the Obama-era immigration inspector general investigated the issue and found that the Office of Refugee Resettlement, which oversees immigrant children in the custody of the federal government, was repeatedly at fault when families arrived with some of these diseases, including untreated mumps, mumps, and rubella (MMR). The investigation also reported that some children with a match of a specific strain of measles at the border were not tested for the disease. In response, refugee advocate groups, like The Nation Foundation, called on the Trump administration to ensure that detainees in federal detention facilities were given the most current vaccine schedules to prevent the diseases.
President Trump stated in an election debate in October that “babies in certain parts of the world get measles and people don’t care.” On Thursday, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders defended the policy change, telling reporters that measles cases had occurred in the U.S. in recent years because ICE facilities did not have proper sanitation and that the new requirement would “help keep our country safe.”
Here’s why Trump is terrified of measles. https://t.co/SbQ9nvDaL3 pic.twitter.com/iU8Dixgz8Q — CBS News (@CBSNews) February 7, 2019
However, critics of the policy argued that requiring vaccinations would threaten a whole population’s health and safety.
See how @asteriskrates this bigoted policy. Keep reading.