Entry of Contagious Diseases in the US by the Illegal Immigrants

As per the Immigration and Nationality Act (INA), issues related to immigration whether it is temporary admission, naturalization, or removal of foreigners, refugees and applicants for US immigration have to undergo an overseas medical examination, performed by the USCIS panel physicians to screen for inadmissible conditions.

The panel physicians are experienced medical doctors (Civil Surgeons) who are well trained and hold licenses authorized by the US embassy or consulate general. CDC (Center for Disease Control & Prevention) is responsible for providing the technical instructions to the panel physicians and for monitoring the quality of the overseas medical examination process.

The Immigration Medical exam is conducted to detect inadmissible conditions of public health. These medical conditions include infectious diseases such as tuberculosis, Hansen and sexually transmitted diseases; mental disorders related to harmful behavior and substance abuse or addiction.

Illegal Immigrants posing threat to Health Issues

The unlimited entry of illegal immigrants is also a potential carrier of contagious diseases such as malaria, cholera, typhoid, dengue, and Tuberculosis (which has been most recently detected). With several cases of various diseases being identified within the illegal population, the fear of TB’s potential spread will be heightened when the individuals will be released and go to other states for court hearing with regard to their Immigration status. The fear of TB’s potential to spread has reached its height.


-Tuberculosis also known as TB is caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis.

-TB Spreads though the lymph nodes and bloodstream or any organ in our body mostly affecting the lungs.

-It is primarily airborne and transmits easily when an infected person sneeze, cough or spit.

-The disease can be cured and prevented with right and timely medications.

-TB affects people of all age mostly young adults and those living in developing countries.


The World Health Organization reports nearly 500,000 new drug-resistant cases each year. Only fewer than half of patients can be cured, even with the best medical care. The US government has given $5 billion to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria. For the US, the issue of drug-resistant Tuberculosis is not as major a problem as that of the entry of illegal immigrants into the country carrying the disease.

TB commonly located with the weaker community

The most important problem is that TB affects the least stable communities. In the US, African-Americans tend to be highly vulnerable while compared to the Native Americans. The cause of the disease is mainly poverty and improper living conditions. Foreign-born account for nearly two-thirds of new cases. Even with screening at borders, it becomes difficult to locate travelers who unknowingly carry the disease. Health departments near the southern borders are apprehensive, especially about the recent influx of undocumented children from Latin America where TB is largely evident. The other problem faced by these immigrants is the high expenditures towards buying the drugs and the time taken for the cure which is nearly 18-24 months.

The second problem faced by US is the high rate of proliferation of the disease due to the two million people who are imprisoned in American prisons. Although they are routinely screened and treated within the prison cells, they are still vulnerable to spreading on their release from prisons. The local health initiatives do not keep track of all TB affected patients hence resulting in lapse of protection against the disease.

The final problem that US face is, that, although Centers for Disease Control and Prevention routinely works with local public health departments to monitor tuberculosis, the center lacks sufficient funds to help prevent patients TB treatment.

It is in hands of Congress and Republicans to work together to provide appropriate funds to CDC so that, tuberculosis treatment can be tracked down and keep records of patients. Estimation of the next decade shows that there will be a need to spend nearly $13 million on tuberculosis treatment if at all the problem persists.