California Homeless Coronavirus Concern
By Kevin Lynn
The novel coronavirus that first appeared in China late last year has been finding its way around the world since. Its journey highlights why a nation’s borders serve not only to protect a nation’s security, but the health and welfare of the citizens of a country. Ineffective U.S. border control for decades, as well as only cursory attention paid to internal controls that regulate entries and exits of noncitizens, has left our country vulnerable to a new pandemic.
The agencies and technologies exist to effectively regulate entry, but we choose not to utilize them. Quixotically, cities, counties and even entire states opt to declare themselves sanctuaries for illegal immigrants. The poster child for local governments providing sanctuary is Los Angeles, a city least prepared to deal with a disease outbreak.
Last year, Los Angeles had an outbreak of typhus, a disease characterized by fever, headaches, a purple rash and often delirium that typically spreads by infected mites, lice and fleas. The outbreak would have probably gone largely unreported had it not been for the disease jumping from the city’s homeless population to staff working in City Hall, blocks from Skid Row.
Conservative estimates place the number of Los Angeles County’s homeless population at 59,000. Imagine if coronavirus hits that population. Unlike typhus, which is a bacterial infection, the coronavirus can spread much more easily. The virus, which results in the disease COVID-19 in humans, can spread between people who come as close as six feet, via respiratory droplets and by exposure to infected surfaces. The Center for Disease Control states, “The virus that causes COVID-19 seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in communities.”
It is hard to walk back decades of neglect and disinterest in what should be a commonsense approach to regulating who may enter the country. But the special interests that want an inexpensive as well as pliable labor force and politicians looking to feather their nests have undermined our ability to respond effectively to the coronavirus.
The countries of Singapore and Mongolia have been shining examples of how to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. The number of new cases in both countries is falling off dramatically. In the case of Mongolia, cases have plateaued. Singapore responded immediately to the crisis. Its top-notch healthcare system allowed it to do localized testing which helped not only in early identification, but also effective tracing of potential carriers. Moreover, it was able to take the restrictive measures necessary with a citizenry that was prepared to sacrifice for the common good.
Contrast this to what is now a very balkanized California. Even with its large vulnerable populations (150,000 homeless) and recent examples of disease outbreaks, California has no localized disease testing. California’s politicians are almost giddy with delight when flouting the nation’s immigration laws, but tepid when it comes to measures that actually improve the safety, health and security of its citizens.
Likely California will handle COVID-19 in much the way it responds to everything else that requires an effective response. It will launch into delusional thinking that will have its political leaders assigning blame to everyone but themselves. The question is: How long will the citizenry put up with this?
Kevin Lynn is the Executive Director of Progressives for Immigration Reform. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.