Yesterday, Rep. Paul Broun (R-GA) was on C-SPAN's Washington Journal and talked about the outbreak of the H1N1 virus. When discussing the first death in the United States from the disease, Broun used the tragedy to rail against "illegal aliens":
Q: What do you think happens next here? Or should happen?
BROUN: Of course, it's sad to see a 23-month-old child die from this disease. We don't have any specifics. I tried to find out this morning specifics about this child that has died -- whether it was someone who is from Mexico, possibly an illegal alien who has been brought into this country.
One big problem we have in this country is an open border. The border is like a sieve, and so these illegal aliens are coming across, and I think a lot of the health care facilities throughout Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and California are going to be overwhelmed by cases coming out of Mexico -- Mexican citizens -- putting a further strain on those facilities. So, I don't know if this child was a Mexican, or if it was an American child -- what the situation is -- but it was sad that this child died.
In fact, the child was a Mexican citizen whose family was visiting relatives in the United States. "The family had traveled to South Texas. The child became ill and they transported the child to Houston for medical care," said a Houston health department official. This case had absolutely nothing to do with undocumented immigration. Most of the U.S. cases are arising in people who legally traveled to Mexico for various reasons.
Media Matters and CAP's Eric Alterman have also documented right-wing media figures blaming Mexican immigrants for the spread of the virus. On April 24, hate radio host Michael Savage said, "Illegal aliens are the carriers of the new strain of human-swine avian flu from Mexico," and on April 27, Neal Boortz asked, "[W]hat better way to sneak a virus into this country than give it to Mexicans?"