OCTOBER 18, 2007
The government agency that secures the nationâ??s borders and brags about protecting the American people allowed a Mexican national infected with a highly contagious form of tuberculosis to enter the U.S. nearly 80 times in the last year.
The infected man, described as a businessman from Juarez Mexico, entered the U.S. through various airports, including Atlanta, Salt Lake City and Phoenix. Authorities say he often used an alias, which made it difficult for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents to intercept him even after an alarming bulletin was issued by U.S. health officials.
Internal Homeland Security documents reveal, however, that CBP acted slowly in warning its border inspectors about the highly contagious Mexican manâ??s frequent travels into the U.S. In the meantime he kept entering the country and even applied for a special visa to extend his stay.
By then, an alarming alert had already been sent to agency officials informing that the â??subject has a very dangerous and contagious strain of TBâ? and that he is a â??public health threat to others and should be masked and placed in isolation immediately.â?
The fact that CBP did not act more quickly should be of concern to all Americans since it is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with protecting the U.S. borders. In fact, CBP claims that the security of a nation rests on its shoulders and the agencyâ??s commissioner says that lessons learned from September 11 have led his 41,000 employees to work day and night to make America safer and more secure.
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