By Jack Herrera, Pacific Standard
United States authorities have quarantined thousands of immigrant detainees in an attempt to contain the spread of mumps and chicken pox in multiple detention centers. According to CNN, Immigration and Customs Enforcement has recently recorded cases of one or both diseases in more than 39 facilities. About 5,200 detainees have been quarantined for exposure (though significantly fewer people have actually shown symptoms).
News reports of the quarantine have renewed fears that immigrants could bring infectious diseases into the U.S. But as I wrote for Pacific Standard in May, the connection between the border and disease has little to do with where migrants are coming from, and much more to do with the conditions they find themselves forced into on the border. That month, overcrowding in a migrant shelter on the Mexican side of the border had led to a chicken pox outbreak.