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Marshall Islands immigrants in Springdale, Arkansas: leprosy, VD, TB

Springdale, Arkansas - the "Chicken Capital of the World" and home of Tyson Foods - is also home to 8000 apparently legal immigrants from the Marshall Islands (see first update), an independent country northeast of Australia (also home to the Bikini Atoll). Pending someone more familiar with the situation saying otherwise, I'm going to guess that they were drawn there to work in various chicken processing plants and similar low-skilled, low-pay jobs (see update 2).

Now, nine cases of leprosy have been found in that population (link):
Medical specialists say the Marshall Islands have the most cases of leprosy, in the world. And the city with the largest number of Marshallese people, outside the Marshall islands, is Springdale. And [local Dr. Jennifer Bingham] says, it makes sense, then, that leprosy is spreading to the city. "It's from the Marshall islands; that's why we're seeing it."

Bingham says she is all for Marshallese people entering the United States, after proper medical tests. But whether they're immigrants or not, she says people must stick to treatment, when infected. And she says, when she treats those from the Marshall Islands, this doesn't happen. "We're not getting the compliance that is absolutely essential to take care of this process."
And:
"We have known for a long time of leprosy in the Marshall Islands," [Dr. Joe Bates, deputy state health director with the Department of Health and Human Services] said. "It's a substantial issue in the Marshall Islands. And they are bringing their health issues to this country with them.
And, from a different conference:
According to Bates there are 8,000 (legal) Marshalleese immigrants in Springdale. They’re the most unhealthy immigrant group in the state, known to suffer from TB [tuberculosis], VD, and leprosy. Not a single case of the latter has been cured. Bates also said that, in contrast to Hawaii, which has $10 million federal dollars for its Micronesian population, Arkansas gets nothing for its Marshall Islanders.
UPDATE: From this:
[A compact between their country and the U.S., see doi.gov/oia/Islandpages/rmipage.htm] allows citizens of the Marshall Islands to live and work in the United States without being subject to U.S. immigration laws, but they are ineligible for Medicare, non-emergency Medicaid, Social Security, food stamps, the State Children's Health Insurance Program, Temporary Assistance for Needy Families and most other forms of federally-funded public assistance...

Deputy State Health Officer Dr. Joe Bates testified that between 2000 and 2005, Northwest Arkansas had nine cases of congenital syphilis, six of which involved Marshallese; 38 people with infectious syphilis, 21 of whom were Marshallese; and eight cases of leprosy, all Marshallese...

..."We think there are two to three times more cases of leprosy than we know about," he said...
It says that some of them might be covered by health insurance from their employers but that that might not include some of their family members. The thing to do here is at the least to require employers - perhaps including Tyson Foods - to pay the full cost for their labor. Expect instead "liberal" groups and politicians to use whatever means necessary to make sure that their employers don't have to do that.

UPDATE 2: This mentions Tyson a few times, such as:
The Marshallese are on the lower economic rungs of Springdale's work force. During the night shift at Tyson Foods' Randall Road plant, about half of the workers are islanders. They are also common on the factory floor of Rockline Industries, which makes baby wipes and scented tissues.
UPDATE 3: The first link to KSFM no longer works. An excerpt from the Google cache is here, which also includes a link to their video report: youtube.com/watch?v=3nexwbL4xMY

The Arkansas Health Department has released this:
The Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) is receiving reports from concerned citizens about a possible outbreak of 300 plus cases of tuberculosis (TB) and an outbreak of Hansen's Disease (leprosy) in Benton, Washington and Sebastian counties). There are no outbreaks of either disease in the state.

The total number of cases of tuberculosis statewide for 2007 was 106. The total number of current cases of TB in northwest Arkansas (Benton, Washington and Sebastian counties) is 21. These cases are under treatment, and the general public is not at risk. The total number of cases of Hansen's Disease in the northwest area (Benton, Washington and Sebastian counties) is nine. These cases are not recent infections...

Immigration2008a · Fri, 02/08/2008 - 10:49 · Importance: 1

Fri, 02/08/2008 - 18:58
Jay

More, more, we need more immigrants....legal, illegal, "temporary", "guest" ........just get them here, faster please! More!! Open borders, no borders....we're all one, big, happy casa for Mexico and the world......bring more people, we need more democrat voters and cheap labor for business ownwers..MORE!

Fri, 02/08/2008 - 22:50
amanda

We need a roving WWW speech cop to delete this post at once--it constitutes hate speech. I can prove that simply by citing one of a couple of organizations who are 100% objective and politically neutral. There are facts and then there are 'hate facts'. Lonewacko must be held accountable and yes that is a threat. What happens when necessary public health reporting meets an open borders ideology and agenda? Can you envision these groups attempting to suppress (by bullying) the dissemination of information whose sole purpose is to save lives? I sure can. They've already drawn a line for Lou Dobbs--no disease reporting or else. All over 3 stories in 6 years! Do you think reporters and editors downplay stories if they are embarrassing to the paper's immigration stance? Didn't the L.A. times cop to this by admitting to a bias toward 'feel good' immigration stories vs. downside stories?

Fri, 02/08/2008 - 23:53
Digger
www.diggersrealm.com

Contrary to Amanda's call for the end to free speech above, I believe that what Lonewacko is pointing out is that these people are coming here - EVEN LEGALLY - and bypassing every single precautionary health screening before arriving. Hate speech my ass, this post is pointing out a clear problem within the system. Of course people like Amanda don't want there to be a debate at all or a questioning of loopholes within the systems that are putting the populace at risk.

Fri, 02/08/2008 - 23:56
Digger
www.diggersrealm.com

Err.. not Amanda, but people Amanda is referring to. I couldn't really read into the sarcasm I suppose.

Fri, 02/08/2008 - 23:56
Richard Grabman
mexfiles.wordpress.com

Uh, Jay? What does this have to do with Mexico or Mexicans? The people with leprosy are from the Marshall Islands, which has a "Compact of Free Association" with the United States... in other words, it's a colony in all but name, and covered under a different set of immigration laws than other countries. And, though the Marshalls (and Palau) have some of the highest incidences of leprosy in the world, this has a lot more to do with lack of public health care in Arkansas (and in the United States) than immigration.

Sat, 02/09/2008 - 00:00
Miss Ladybug
miss-ladybug.blogspot.com

I'd made note of the fact, with the first story I read, that these folks came from the Marshall Islands. But, your post is the only one making mention of the special agreement between the US government and the government of the Marshall Islands. No doubt, that is something that stems from post-WWII relationships, since that area of the Pacific was integral in the war against Japan. Still, I don't they should be exempted from health screenings - that is a public safety issue, which should trump giving special treatment to a people who likely helped us out during WWII.

Sat, 02/09/2008 - 00:34
Miss Ladybug
miss-ladybug.blogspot.com

Public healthcare in NW AR is fine. I used to live there. Leprosy doesn't just show up - it has to come from somewhere. It is know to exist in the Marshall Island. You have a very large (especially for that area) population of Marshallese. Then, they start showing up with leprosy. They didn't catch it in Arkansas. Sounds to me like a problem with the public health system in the Marshalls and a hole in our immigration screening for communicable diseases...

Sat, 02/09/2008 - 02:27
Steamboat McGoo
aardvarks.wordpress.com/

I note that Drudge's link to the AR news media is dead. The local news folks removed the story, apparently. Gee, I wonder why?

Sat, 02/09/2008 - 02:29
Steamboat McGoo
aardvarks.wordpress.com/

Oh, by the way. Isn't Tyson Foods/Marshall Island group owned/controlled by Nancy Pelosi's rich husband?

Sat, 02/09/2008 - 02:32
Steamboat McGoo
aardvarks.wordpress.com/

...Or was that a tuna canning company?

Sat, 02/09/2008 - 08:18
eh

_...this has a lot more to do with lack of public health care in Arkansas (and in the United States) than immigration._ What an idiot.

Sat, 02/09/2008 - 16:43
David
thirdworldcounty.us

*heh* Forwarded this info to Lovely Daughter who works in a private (church-sponsored) social services place... in Springdale, AR.

Sun, 02/10/2008 - 02:09
Ali

Richard... you are defective.

Mon, 02/11/2008 - 21:08
Fred Dawes
www.myspace.com/freddawes1776

We need to buy Guns lots of Guns and other weapons of life.

Tue, 02/12/2008 - 23:05
PJ

If they're sick and working at Tyson, I guess that means I will not be eating any Tyson chickens anymore.

Wed, 02/13/2008 - 00:46
Smitty

Leprosy is transmissible through the air which explains why Congress flys on private jets. I wonder if Nancy Pelosi eats Tyson Chicken.