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Scott Brown: Ebola crisis ‘underscores the need to secure our borders’

Last modified: 10/10/2014 12:37:53 AM
U.S. Senate candidate Scott Brown renewed his call to secure the border yesterday in order to stop Ebola from spreading into the country.

“This underscores the need to secure our borders. We have already seen people with Ebola arrive in the United States through normal channels and the type of havoc that can create,” Brown, a Republican, said in a statement yesterday. Brown has previously called for further border security as a way to protect against terrorism.

“My concern is with our unprotected border where people with Ebola and other infectious diseases can enter the country without being challenged,” he said.

The first person diagnosed with Ebola in the U.S. died at a Texas hospital Wednesday morning. Federal officials announced the same day that they would begin screening passengers arriving to five American airports from Ebola-affected countries.

Incumbent Jeanne Shaheen, a Democrat, backed that move, but said health officials could be doing more.

“We cannot be too careful when it comes to this deadly disease, and that means using whatever resources we have at our disposal to help contain the spread of Ebola abroad and minimize the impact at home,” she said in a statement yesterday. “While additional screenings at airports is a pragmatic step forward, we should be increasing these efforts to screen passengers from affected countries.”

Health officials in New Hampshire have said the chance Ebola will spread to the state is slim, but they have taken precautions at both the state and local levels. Concord Hospital is now asking patients whether they have been to West Africa within the past 21 days, Ebola’s incubation period. The state Department of Health and Human Services had been communicating with local travel hubs, advising officials there to screen travelers who come in and out of the state.

If Ebola gets to Central America, it could spread north from there, Marine Corps Gen. John Kelly, commander of U.S. Southern Command, told a crowd at the National Defense University this week, according to a press release.

“If it breaks out . . . there will be mass migration into the United States,” he said. “They will run away from Ebola, or if they suspect they are infected, they will try to get to the United States for treatment.”

On Fox News Sunday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said it is “far-fetched” that illegal immigrants infected with Ebola would be crossing the border into the U.S. “I wouldn’t be worrying about illegal immigrants coming from southern borders when we have an issue right now with Ebola in West Africa,” he said.

When asked about that kind of analysis, Brown’s campaign pointed to his statement and a radio interview he did on the subject.

In that interview on WGIR radio yesterday, the former Massachusetts senator said he supported many measures to combat Ebola including curtailing flights and closing the border.

“I believe we need to be safe, obviously, and logical and thoughtful when we’re dealing with these types of things,” Brown said. “And that’s one of the reasons I have been so adamant about closing our border, because if people are coming in from normal channels, can you imagine what they can do through a porous border?”

(Allie Morris can be reached at 369-3307 or at amorris@cmonitor.com.)


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