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Coronavirus Exposed A Contradiction In The Immigration Debate

Updated on November 16, 2020
jackclee lm profile image

Jack is a volunteer at the CCNY Archives. Before retiring, he worked at IBM for over 28 years. His articles have over 120,000 views.


In normal times, the left and the right are on opposite sides of the illegal immigration issue. The left support open borders and feels it is compassionate to allow those that wants to come here to stay and work, while the right wants to stop illegal crossings into our country because it is undermining our sovereignty.

With the current on-going crisis of the coronavirus, it is front and center how we are to respond. As we see around the world, a border is necessary to contain the spread of this disease. What steps should our country take to protect our citizens?

- March 2020

updated Nov. 2020


One of the argument of conservatives against undocumented immigrants is the health factor. By breaking our laws and crossing our borders without any health exam or immunization, we are exposing our neighborhoods to potential communicable diseases. This problem, though small, never the less exists. We have experienced pockets of outbreak of tuberculosis, hepatitis, and measles, all highly contagious.

The people who support immigrants to our country tend to downplay that fact. They say we need them to do the work Americans don't want to do. That maybe true but maybe not. Now we are confronted with a new health crisis. Will the same argument hold while countries across the globe are issuing mandatory quarantines and shutting borders? Shouldn't we handle illegal crossings differently when there is a global epidemic threat?

Lady Liberty and the Hospital Ship

Sanctuary Cities Policy

Another policy that is under scrutiny is the sanctuary city of some large cities. Again, this highlights another one of the crazy policies with regard to undocumented immigrants. Somehow, if they committed a crime and are caught and went through our judicial process, ICE is prevented from being informed of this status by these sanctuary cities. How is this helping to keep our citizens safe?

The point is these people should be deported based on our current law, having committed a felony and ICE is our federal agency set up to do this. For cities to deliberately avoid informing ICE when these people are released is just putting our citizens at risk of being victims again.

If we extend this same policy to people contracted with coronavirus, what would be the result? If a sanctuary policy is bad for infected individuals, why isn't it the same for immigrants that committed felonies? What is the difference?

Coronavirus as of March 8, 2020

The Seriousness and the Silver Linings...

Here is link to tracking the latest of the coronavirus worldwide.

Here is a summary based on % of population affected.

Here is projected numbers based on coronavirus model.

Here is latest government website from the CDC on latest information on the coronavirus.

This coronavirus outbreak though a serious health risk, may have a silver lining.

We are now realizing the affect of outsourcing many of our critical products to other countries especially China. Items such as medicine, and supplies and electronics and weapon systems which are critical to our defense should not be out sourced.

The other silver lining is to revisit our immigration policy overall.

A Perspective

The current outbreak has cause only a handful of deaths. By contrast here are a few facts to consider.

Deaths Per Year...

Deaths in US
Climate Change
As of 3/9/2020
Deaths by Illegal Immigrants
H1N1 Flu pandemic
Average Flu
Auto Accident
as of 6/25/2020
Heart Disease


The coronavirus knows no race or economic status or country. Anyone can be infected. The only difference is our own immune system and our health status. If a healthy individual is afflicted, he may survive with minor symptoms. However, if someone is compromised in some way, contracting this virus may lead to death.

Since there is no cure or vaccine at this moment, our response in dealing with this virus and its spread is one of quarantine and cleanliness. All common sense practice.

Our response in dealing with illegal immigrants crossing our borders should not be any different. The potential for diseases is real. The potential for crimes against our citizens is also real. If you have doubts, ask the family of Kate Steinle.

Postscript - Nov. 2020 2nd Wave Starting...

As predicted, a second wave is starting but the good news is we now have at least two vaccines that is working.


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    • jackclee lm profile imageAUTHOR

      Jack Lee 

      13 months ago from Yorktown NY


      While the healthcare system needs to be improved, I don't see this virus crisis as a game changer. It is a black swan event that happens rarely. As with any system, even with the phone company, their system is not designed to handle peek usages such as on Mother's Day. We will get over this, and most things will return to normal.

    • CHRIS57 profile image


      13 months ago from Northern Germany

      I thought you would answer like this.

      Reality is different, much different.

      As i wrote, this is not about the fatality of Covid 19, i am probably with you that it is overrated. It is about the performance of the health care system. That is an old machine. Was old before the Trump administration and will be a wreck afterwards.

      This morning i listened to a report by a nurse in NYC, whose husband was Corona positive at home and who was still working in the hospital.

      This noon i was called by our local/county health administration center. I was told my mother had been in contact with a carer, who was tested Corona positive. (Mother is 98 years old, dement, but living with my father in their own house). They issued an injunction for a 2 week quarantine. Now, my mom won´t leave the house anyways, but..

      I hope you understand the difference in handling. This is why Germany from this weekend on has a decrease in active cases (more recovered than newly infected). Outbreak over here was march 1st. (First 100 infected). Same for the US was march 07 (first 400 infected), US population 4 times of G.

      For the economy, yes i am with you that US economy will come back stronger. All economies will come back stronger, because hopefully all the zombie companies are out. (Zombie are companies with economic preconditions, only having survived on a respirator called cheap money).

      After the crisis is over, one economy will sit directly in the neck of the US: China.

    • jackclee lm profile imageAUTHOR

      Jack Lee 

      13 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Chris57, I disagree with you assessment that America is not handling this crisis well. Considering this virus is a black swan event, no country can adequately prepare for it. The only thing we can do is mitigate and try to minimize the casualties. On that front the US is leading. We have sped up the FDA approval process and came up with a new speedy test that can get a result in minutes instead of days. We have started testing on a vaccine and we have gotten many private corporations to chip in and build needed supplies and ventilators...We have also past a relief bill to help individuals and businesses cope. If there is anything else we need to be doing and not, please let us know. This crisis will end sometimes in the near future. Our economy will come back stronger.

    • CHRIS57 profile image


      13 months ago from Northern Germany

      Writing this while Covid19 infected numbers are beyond 160k and death toll rising dramatically, i still think that after all is over, the Corona impact will leave very few traces in statistics.

      So - Corona is a virus infection like many others. One thing is a little different, me think: Infection spreading is very high, leading to exponential growths of infection numbers.

      And this leads to the real problem: Overload of the health care system. On our planet with global free travel of products and people this pandemic fully displays which country, state, administration is fit to handle the health crisis.

      It may be too early to reflect on this, but currently it looks like China, Koreo, Japan passed the test, while Europe and the US failed with the US by far in the lead of underperforming.

      It is quite frightening to see what is happening in the US. In older times you could be sure in crisis times, that the US would come and fix the problem. This time is over. America is a helpless child and that is not good.

      I am an industrial consultant. An overload situation we call a bottleneck. First rule is to protect the bottleneck, this is offload production, redistribute and reroute products and assign additional resources. For the US health care system status this means: Machines, systems are old (3rd world standard), low capacity (2.9 beds/1000), easy to overload. Middle management knows this and asks for help and investment (for example 30.000 ventilators and PPE). Upper management doesn´t like the red machines where the bottleneck is supports only blue machines. Upper management attributed the problems of another red machine to the lady operator, who doesn´t operate properly. An inspection device by an outside organisation (WHO) was neglected, so things were in the dark for some time unnecesarily. This is childplay.

      If i found a situation like this in a production facility, i would get upper management fired.

      Handling the economic situation is probably adequate, even though much more will have to be done. But as upper management said: Health first.

      Strategy and organisation win a war, not heroes. So much for the hospital ships and the wartime DIY efforts of having a car maker do ventilators. For a foreigner this looks like Kindergarten. Sorry to say.

    • jackclee lm profile imageAUTHOR

      Jack Lee 

      14 months ago from Yorktown NY

      Marie, I respect your opinion. I disagree that this virus is somehow different. It is the same as with other communicable diseases. Why would we allow ourselves to be put at risk?

      The handling of illegal immigration is illogical. We have rules and they are there for good reasons. It is unwise for some in our government to pick and choose which laws they follow. It is not like a Chinese menu where you choose one from column A and one from column B...

      If we want to have more immigrants, we should change our laws as other nations have done. Such as guest workers...which is a controlled and managed process that makes them into legal immigrants.

    • Marie Flint profile image

      Marie Flint 

      14 months ago from Jacksonville, FL USA

      I like Carolyn's assessment.

      What I see are the differences between the coronavirus and crime is that the virus is an invisible global concern; whereas, crime (mainly addictive drug sales) is a visible action that intentionally creates victims.

      It is wise to tighten borders when there is an active global communicable disease, but to maintain a heightened military state during peaceable, non-threatening times is not healthy for the spiritual welfare of our planet.

      Beneath all of this, the United States has to rethink its foreign intervention policy, not so much the immigration issue, although the two are linked. When we create wars that destroy the culture and habitat of a people, we pay the price. Our leaders need to awaken to the fact there are other ways of creating an economy besides the war vehicle. (Amen)

    • Bushra Iqbal profile image

      Anya Ali 

      14 months ago from Rabwah, Pakistan

      Coronavirus needs to be taken very seriously. I hope the imams of mosques in the USA and elsewhere have instructed members of their congregation not to come to prayer unless they feel well and are confident they do not have this illness.

    • Bushra Iqbal profile image

      Anya Ali 

      14 months ago from Rabwah, Pakistan

      Good article!

    • jackclee lm profile imageAUTHOR

      Jack Lee 

      14 months ago from Yorktown NY


      you are correct. Panic is the only description. This virus is new but not unique. We have enough experiences from previous incidents to know how much impact it would have. In the big scheme of things, its time will pass.

    • Carolyn M Fields profile image

      Carolyn Fields 

      14 months ago from South Dakota, USA

      The level of panic around the Coronavirus (COVID-19) is completely disproportionate to the actual threat. Around 80% of the cases are mild. The regular, run of the mill flu is just as much of a threat.

      "In the U.S. alone, the flu has caused an estimated 32 million illnesses, 310,000 hospitalizations and 18,000 deaths this season, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)."

      COVID-19 has just become a "sexy" topic and one that the general public can't seemingly get enough of.

      You are correct about the silver lining. COVID-19 has caused the "open borders" people to reconsider their "let everyone in" stance. Why is it that throughout human history, people must die for true change to take place?


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