Boyles and guest Gheen repeated anti-immigration falsehoods, denounced media watchdogs' "betrayal of the citizenry"

››› ››› MEDIA MATTERS STAFF

Discussing proposed immigration reform legislation, 630 KHOW-AM's Peter Boyles and guest William Gheen repeated the dubious claim that the legislation does not require "a TB test" for immigrants to become citizens or get visas. In fact, the two measures they referred to and federal regulations all require a check of immunization status, and current immigration regulations specify testing for tuberculosis. Further, Gheen repeated the thoroughly debunked claim that illegal immigrants kill "12 to 25 Americans" every day.

During the June 1 broadcast of his 630 KHOW-AM show, Peter Boyles and his guest, William Gheen, repeated falsehoods and other distortions regarding illegal immigrants and proposed immigration reform legislation. Among the distortions was Boyles' and Gheen's claim that proposed legislation does not require "a TB test" for immigrants "to become a citizen, or to get a visa or to become a guest worker." In fact, the bill they referred to and another under consideration by the Senate both include provisions requiring determination of immunization status for those seeking admission under the guest worker program, and current U.S. Department of Homeland Security regulations require a tuberculosis immunization or test for "aliens applying for adjustment of status."

Gheen is president of Americans for Legal Immigration (ALI-PAC), a political action committee "dedicated to supporting candidates who make illegal immigration reduction a top priority." Boyles' discussion with him centered on the putative risks that illegal immigrants bearing infectious diseases might pose to the health of U.S. citizens. He related his concern to the case of a U.S. citizen -- whom Boyles called "TB boy" -- who crossed into the United States from Canada despite having been put on a no-fly list distributed to U.S. border guards because he was infected with a dangerous form of tuberculosis, or TB.

From the June 1 broadcast of 630 KHOW-AM's The Peter Boyles Show:

BOYLES: William Gheen is our guest. I'm a big fan. He's here. We're talking about "W." We're talking about the immigration -- it's, it's scamdesty. I like that word: sham, sham-amnesty, scamdesty. But come back to TB boy. All these people were shocked that this guy literally flew back, got in a car, and drove in. And, and what, what the hell do they think is happening daily? William?

GHEEN: We've got bedbugs back in all, almost all of our 58 states. We've got TB on the rise, we've got hepatitis, we've got HIV, we've got diseases like Chagas disease, which is a horrifying disease, but also, much like TB, is very, very difficult to treat at all. And it's coming in because of the, the lack of enforcement of our immigration laws. And, and, the end result is Americans are suffering, Americans are dying. Just like 12 to 25 Americans, approximately, are dying each day at the hands of criminal actions of illegal aliens. And these people who are responsible for it -- both in D.C. and on the ground -- they need to pay. They really need to pay for this, because this, you know -- talk about justice? Let's talk about justice. Justice for illegal aliens? I'm for it. Send 'em back.

BOYLES: Yeah.

GHEEN: Justice for politicians, justice for 501(c)3 groups, and media watchdog groups that stake out positions on this thing that, that are contributing to this death and destruction that we're facing through illegal immigration. I, I think they're all gonna need to pay in one way or another in a, a civic-minded way for their betrayal of the citizenry here.

As Colorado Media Matters has noted, contrary to Gheen's insinuation that the presence of bedbugs in "almost all of our 58 (sic) states" is attributable to illegal immigration, a fact sheet on bedbugs prepared by the Ohio State University College of Food, Agricultural and Environmental Sciences explains that "widespread use of baits rather than insecticide sprays for ant and cockroach control is a factor that has been implicated" in the resurgence of bedbugs in the United States. According to the fact sheet:

In the past decade, bed bugs have begun making a comeback across the United States, although they are not considered to be a major pest. The widespread use of baits rather than insecticide sprays for ant and cockroach control is a factor that has been implicated in their return. Bed bugs are blood feeders that do not feed on ant and cockroach baits. International travel and commerce are thought to facilitate the spread of these insect hitchhikers, because eggs, young, and adult bed bugs are readily transported in luggage, clothing, bedding, and furniture. Bed bugs can infest airplanes, ships, trains, and buses. Bed bugs are most frequently found in dwellings with a high rate of occupant turnover, such as hotels, motels, hostels, dormitories, shelters, apartment complexes, tenements, and prisons. Such infestations usually are not a reflection of poor hygiene or bad housekeeping.

Additionally, in claiming that "12 to 25 Americans, approximately, are dying each day at the hands of criminal actions of illegal aliens," Gheen repeated a dubious statistic that he had made on Boyles' October 28, 2006, broadcast. Colorado Media Matters pointed out that on that broadcast, Gheen had complained to Boyles that Colorado Media Matters was "all up in arms" over his citation of similarly dubious statistics on Americans killed by illegal immigrants.

Apparently referring to Colorado Media Matters again on Boyles' June 1 broadcast, Gheen denounced "media watchdog groups" that, in his estimation, "are contributing to this death and destruction that we're facing through illegal immigration" and said such groups are "gonna need to pay." Gheen did not elaborate on what "civic-minded" payment would be due for what he called a "betrayal of the citizenry here."

Returning to the topic of TB, Boyles asserted, and Gheen agreed, that immigration reform legislation introduced by U.S. Reps. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) and Luis Gutierrez (D-IL) and similar bills do not contain any provisions mandating that an alien get a TB test as a condition for obtaining a visa or to participate in a guest worker program.

BOYLES: I have -- went back and read the, the Senate -- I went back and read Flake-Gutierrez, the 110th Congress one that's gonna save us all, according to Jeff Flake. There is not one moment, there's not one sentence, there's not one piece of verbiage that deals with sick -- and I mean, I mean, somebody called them human beings that are really weapons of mass destruction. But where is it in any of those, any of those legislations that of course are going to solve a problem that these bastards created -- where does it say anywhere, William, that you have to get a TB test to become a citizen, or to get a visa or to become a guest worker or any of the nonsensical terms that are being used? Do you see it anywhere in any of these?

GHEEN: From what I understand, it's not there.

BOYLES: It's not there!

In fact, in two provisions, House Resolution 1645, (also known as the Flake-Gutierrez bill), requires a medical examination that includes an immunization check as a requirement for admission under the guest worker program:

''(4) MEDICAL EXAMINATION. -- The alien shall undergo a medical examination (including a determination of immunization status), at the alien's expense, that conforms to generally accepted standards of medical practice.

The same requirement applies to the dependents of such a guest worker. These two provisions can be found in identical form in Senate Bill 1348 (here and here), an immigration reform measure that the full Senate began considering on May 22. On the same day, the Senate also began considering a substitute proposal, Senate Amendment 1150. It also requires a medical examination, "including a determination of immunization status," for prospective nonimmigrant workers and for aliens applying for "earned adjustment" under the Z visa program. Further, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security already requires a tuberculosis check as part of the medical examination required for "aliens applying for adjustment of status":

I. Instructions for Aliens Applying for Adjustment of Status.

A medical examination is necessary as part of your application for adjustment of status.

Please communicate immediately with one of the physicians on the attached list to arrange for your medical examination, which must be completed before your status can be adjusted.

The purpose of the medical examination is to determine if you have certain health conditions which may need further follow-up. The information requested is required in order for a proper evaluation to be made of your health status.

The results of your examination will be provided to an Immigration officer and may be shared with health departments and other public health or cooperating medical authorities. All expenses in connection with this examination must be paid by you.

[...]

If you need more tests because of a condition found during your medical examination, the doctor may send you to your own doctor or to the local public health department. For some conditions, before you can become a temporary or permanent resident, you will have to show that you have followed the doctor's advice to get more tests or take treatment.

If you have any records of immunizations (vaccinations), you should bring them to show to the doctor. This is especially important for pre-school and school-age children. The doctor will tell you if any more immunizations are needed, and where you can get them (usually at your local public health department). It is important for your health that you follow the doctor's advice and go to get any immunizations.

One of the conditions you will be tested for is tuberculosis (TB). Applicants two years old or older will be required to have a tuberculin skin test. A civil surgeon may require an applicant younger than two to have a skin test if the child has a history of contact with a known TB case, or if there is any other reason to suspect TB disease.

[...]

If you have any reaction to the skin test, you will also need to have a chest X-ray examination. If the doctor thinks you are infected with tuberculosis, you may have to go to the local health department and more tests may have to be done. The doctor will explain these medical matters to you.

Additionally, the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) maintains guidelines for medical examination of aliens seeking admission to the United States. Named first on the CDC's list of "Communicable Diseases of Public Health Significance" is tuberculosis. The CDC's "Technical Instructions for Medical Examination of Aliens" -- applicable to examinations of aliens applying for a visa when already in the United States and of those applying for admission from abroad -- list "infectious tuberculosis" first among communicable diseases for which an evaluating physician must test.

III. REQUIRED EVALUATIONS

A. Communicable Diseases of Public Health Significance III-1

1. Infectious Tuberculosis III-1

2. Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection III-4

3. Syphilis III-6

4. Other Sexually Transmitted Diseases (Chancroid, Gonorrhea, Granuloma Inguinale, Lymphogranuloma Venereum) III-6

5. Hansen's Disease (Leprosy) III-7

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