Coming Soon From Your Friendly Federal Government: More HIV-Positive Immigrants

You Can`t Make This Stuff Up Dept.: Celebrity
journalist Andrew Sullivan`s

mad idea
to allow unrestricted immigration
for people with HIV [see
Steve Sailer`s comments
] is one step
closer to being a reality – thanks to a late
Clinton rule “clarification” that remains
unremarked upon by the Bush administration. And,
of course, unreported in the press.  

On its
face, U.S. law

bars admission
of HIV-positive individuals.  However
– and it`s a very big “however” – the bar may be waived
for refugees in order to assure `family unity,` for
humanitarian purposes, or for reasons of `public

Prior to
the Clinton rule change, the intending refugee had to
meet two requirements in order to receive the

– [1] establish that his or her admission to
the U.S. would not endanger the public health; and [2]
furnish proof of registration with a U.S. agency, say a
state Medicaid agency, which consents to bear the costs
associated with medical treatment of the refugee.

The second
requirement was proving difficult. “Almost no one” was
getting waivers according to a State Department source. 
Solution: do away with the requirement. After all, the
services under


Ryan White CARE Act
a federal AIDS program, are automatically available to
refugees anyway. So why require the prior consent of the
agency dispensing them?

Arguing in
support of the rule change, Surgeon General David
Satcher advised then-INS Commissioner Doris Meissner
that “the country`s commitment to providing service to
HIV-positive individuals provides adequate support for
refugees who are HIV-positive upon their admission to
the United States and during their transition to full
participation in our society.” 

I wonder
if the authors of the Ryan White CARE Act intended for
its benefits to be

extended to the world
?  Perhaps HIV really will be
the ultimate solvent of national sovereignty, as its
partisans like to argue.

About 515
HIV-positive refugees arrived under the eased waiver
requirements from the date of the rule change in June,
1999 through April, 2001.  This is not a flood and is
probably a fraction of those HIV-positive individuals
who immigrate here illegally or who simply evade
screening while legally immigrating.  But several
factors favor the growth of the legal entry of
HIV-positive refugees, which will inevitably increase
the legal entry of the HIV-positive. 

the number of African

refugees admitted to the U.S.
has tripled in the
last 2 years. Africa has been the main source of
HIV-positive refugees so far (an exact source-country
breakdown is not available because HIV entrants are not
tracked by country).  Approximately 18,000 were admitted
as refugees from Africa in the year 2000. This number
will likely double in the next 2 years, according to
State Department sources.  An African specialist in the
State Department and an official at CDC, both of whom
asked to remain anonymous, told me that “easily” 10% of
African refugees from sub-Saharan Africa will have HIV. 


“international burden sharing”
becomes the norm in
foreign policy it will be increasingly difficult to,
well, not share the burdens of those countries where
AIDS is hitting hardest.   There has even been serious
discussion—if one regards the editorial pages of the
New York Times
as a forum where serious discussion
takes place—of including African AIDS assistance as part
of a comprehensive slavery reparations plan. 

No doubt,
granting immigrants access to services under the Ryan
White CARE Act will come to be seen as the least of U.S.

politically-correct CDC refuses to discuss anything like
an average rate of infections transmitted per
HIV-positive individual.  Nevertheless, I suspect such a

transmission rate
has been

. (Alas, despite federal agitprop about
the importance of openness on the subject, HIV – and
above all HIV and immigration – remains the strictest of
taboos in government circles.)

there`s good news from our unsleeping federal
government! It has already taken steps to ensure that
communicable disease will not, after all, be imported
with our HIV-positive refugees.  The government requires
that, before arriving on U.S. shores, all  HIV-positive
refugees sign a document promising to take a
U.S. government course in “safe sex”
– thereby
establishing, of course,  that “their admission to the
United States will not compromise the public health.”

So that`s
OK then!

Isn`t it?

And if
there is a mishap somewhere, and one infection becomes
10 infections, hey, there`s always the Ryan White CARE


November 27, 2001