On his radio show today, claimed that people can catch diseases from illegal aliens. Limbaugh asked, “Has the CDC ever published a story about the dangers of catching diseases when you sleep with illegal aliens?”
Here is the audio via Media Matters:
Limbaugh said, “Alright so I guess we can assume here global warming, more people are going to die, because more people are going to sleep with their pets. It’s a risk folks. It’s a risk that all of you must take. Has the CDC ever published a story about the dangers of catching diseases when you sleep with illegal aliens? I mean. No, I am not comparing them to pets. I just wondered. If you get diseases from sleeping with people and animals and so forth, what are these studies, and the hilarious thing is, they call me a fear monger, and they’ve got all these clowns out there writing all these stories about you’re going to die tomorrow if you do something entirely normal, and for which this no evidence that anyone ever died. Have you ever seen on the death certificate died because he slept with Fido? Haven’t seen it.”
One of Limbaugh’s favorite forms of racist attack is to phrase the slur as a question, so that he can claim that he wasn’t attacking anyone. He was just wondering out loud. The idea that a person can catch a disease by sleeping with someone who is in the country illegally is straight up racism out of the last century. A person’s citizenship status has no relevance to whether or not they carry disease. Rush was trying to advance the stereotype that all Mexicans are dirty, which of course, is not true.
There are plenty of American citizens who anyone can catch a disease by sleeping with. In 2009, there were over 300,000 cases of Gonorrhea, over 13,000 cases of Syphilis, and over 1.2 million cases of Chlamydia. It is a pretty safe bet that the vast majority of those who were infected were infected by legal residents of the United States. The reason why the CDC doesn’t study the possibility of catching a disease from a legal resident versus an illegal immigrant is because there is no difference. Citizenship or residency does not make a person cleaner or more disease free.
Right wing media has been spreading the lie for years that Hispanic illegal immigrants are bringing diseases into the US. The reality is that studies in states like Utah show disease rates declining among Hispanic populations. Rush Limbaugh and anti-immigration groups are fear mongering about diseases and illegal aliens to whip up hatred of Hispanics. This is pure racism, and Limbaugh deserves to be called out on it.
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