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Migrants Don't Spread Disease: Suggesting So Cost Tucker Carlson an Advertiser

Does this affect your views on immigration?

by Countable | 12.6.18

UPDATE December 17, 2018: Last week, Fox News host Tucker Carlson cost the network an advertiser when he said poor immigrants make the U.S. "dirtier."

Carlson began his commentary by arguing that the U.S.' current immigration system has a negative impact on the economy. Then he continued:

"Our leaders demand that you shut up and accept this... We have a moral obligation to admit the world's poor, they tell us, even if it makes our own country poorer, and dirtier, and more divided. Immigration is a form of atonement."

Carlson added: "They're nice people; nobody doubts that."

Pacific Life, an insurance company that has been running ads on Carlson's show for about a year, said in a statement Friday that it "strongly" disagreed with his immigration comments, and that it was pulling its ads from Fox News for now:

While Carlson could have meant any number of things by his choice of the word "dirty," recent research has found not only that migrants don't spread disease, but that they help to combat it.

For more on migrants' impact on health, see Countable's original December 6, 2018 article below.

Migrants don't spread disease. In fact, they help to combat it.

That’s the conclusion of a study published this week in the Lancet medical journal.

In fact, most migrants have a mortality advantage, or greater life expectancy, than people in their host countries, according to the new research. This is true for the majority of diseases.


The two-year study found that international migrants are less likely than people in their host countries to die of heart disease, cancer, respiratory diseases, and other ills.

The exceptions are hepatitis, tuberculosis, and HIV. However, the study also found that these infections are generally only spread within the affected immigrant communities, and not to the wider population. The study authors further noted that conditions in refugee camps and detention centers can lead to undervaccination and the spread of infectious disease.

The authors also point out that immigrants make up a substantial portion of the healthcare workforce, including in the U.S. A report published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that 16 percent of healthcare workers in the U.S. were born somewhere else, including 29 percent of physicians, 16 percent of registered nurses, 20 percent of pharmacists, 24 percent of dentists, and 23 percent of nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides. As one of the authors observed:

“One of the things the report clearly establishes is high-income countries are hugely dependent on migrants from low-income countries for medical care, teaching and caring for grandparents.”

Why it matters

Some of the rhetoric about migrants – including the group currently making its way through Mexico – might lead some to believe that migrants are a threat to American health, a strain on the health care system, and damaging to the economy.

This research found that to be untrue.

What do you think?

Does this research affect your views on immigration? Why or why not? Tell your reps what you think, then share your thoughts below.

—Sara E. Murphy

(Photo Credit: / AndreyPopov


Written by Countable

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