There is an anti-immigrant playbook in this country that goes back at least to the 1840's and the first wave of Irish immigrants. Typical arguments applied to nearly every wave of immigrants to this country have been 1. They are lazy; 2. They are going to take our jobs (funny in conjunction with #1); 3. They increase crime and 4. They bring disease.
To date in Arizona, we have seen all three of the first arguments in spades, but until recently I had not seen #4. But trust Sheriff Joe to be out front on this, issuing a press release stating:
Sheriff Joe Arpaio says that he has long argued the point that illegal immigration is not just a law enforcement problem but is a potential health hazard as well.
"This is a risk to our community and to my deputies," Arpaio says. "Deputies never know what they may face in the course of enforcing human smuggling laws."
Arpaio says that in the last two months, four inmates, all illegal aliens from the country of Mexico, were confirmed with having chicken pox, placing 160 inmates into immediate medical quarantine.
Earlier Apraio had this to say to GQ magazine (but he's not a racist!)
All these people that come over, they could come with disease. There's no control, no health checks or anything. They check fruits and vegetables, how come they don't check people? No one talks about that! They're all dirty.
Of course, like many of Arpaio's fulminations, this release fell somewhere between a grand exaggeration and an outright lie.
Maricopa County health officials denied reports by the Sheriff's Office that 160 jail inmates had been quarantined two months ago because of four illegal immigrants with chicken pox.
Officials also downplayed a news release issued by Sheriff Joe Arpaio's office last night about chicken pox found in immigrants busted yesterday, noting that such minor outbreaks don't normally make the news.
After our inquiries, MCSO Lieutenant Brian Lee said that Arpaio had, in fact, misspoken when he stated for the news release that a large-scale "quarantine" had taken place.