/ Modified apr 5, 2019 4:11 p.m.

UA Researcher: No Public Health Risk Presented by Immigration Surge

A discussion with the Arizona Prevention Research Center's Kathryn Tucker.

This week the southern border was once again front and center on the national stage with visits from President Trump and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen. Their push for increased security comes as Customs and Border Protection says facilities used to process immigrants are at capacity due to the ongoing surge in families from Central America.

Last week the Border Patrol Yuma Sector released a statement saying it began releasing detainees on their own recognizance with a notice to appear in court. The agency's Tucson Sector is doing the same. It issued a statement saying it is continuing to coordinate with local nongovernmental organizations to "minimize the impact of these releases on the community."

The Border Patrol has called these releases "unprecedented," raising questions about what considerations, if any, public health experts should take into account. Arizona 360 learned more about the issue from Kathryn Tucker, a research specialist with the Arizona Prevention Research Center at the University of Arizona Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health. Tucker dispelled falsehoods about any potential health risks connected to large groups of migrants entering the U.S.

"The countries of origin of many of these migrants have higher vaccination rates than even we have in some states of the U.S.," Tucker said. "In terms of risks they pose to others, it's just nonexistent."

Arizona 360
Arizona 360 airs Fridays at 8:30 p.m. on PBS 6 and Saturdays at 8 p.m. on PBS 6 PLUS. See more from Arizona 360.
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