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Anti-Immigrant Theocrat Repeats Lies About Disease

By Leah Nelson on February 16, 2012 - 2:46 pm, Posted in Anti-Immigrant

A recent fundraising letter from the Conservative Caucus Foundation bears an interesting warning for subscribers: Not only are “illegal aliens” “stealing American jobs,” “DEMANDING amnesty” and having “jackpot babies” so they can “get on the welfare gravy train” – they’re also endangering U.S. citizens with the filthy diseases they carry over the border.

“Some illegal aliens bring diseases we thought were long gone,” the letter proclaims. “Tuberculosis (TB), dysentery, typhoid, malaria, tapeworm, river blindness and guinea worm come into America with illegal aliens.” Elsewhere, it warns of polio.

As explained in a 2007 SPLC report on anti-immigrant myths and propaganda, this is nonsense. As regular readers of this blog know, we have tangled with this issue before. In 2007, we had a major dustup with Lou Dobbs, the immigrant-bashing former CNN commentator who falsely claimed that 7,000 new cases of leprosy had appeared in a recent three-year period in the United States due at least in part to immigrants. Despite Dobbs’ famous declaration that “if we reported it, it’s a fact,” the reality is that about only about 400 new cases appeared during the period, and it’s not known if any of them were linked to immigrants.

Like Dobbs, the Conservative Caucus Foundation and its president, Howard Phillips (who signed the fundraising letter), have little use for facts when there’s fear to be mongered. In a press release last week, Phillips announced that 93% of respondents to a poll run by the foundation “disagreed with the policy of implementing an NAU [North American Union] without the approval of Congress or the voters.” Of course, no such policy in the works.  The NAU, a supposed merger of the U.S., Canada and Mexico akin to the European Union, is a figment of the collective imagination of the antigovernment “Patriot” movement. Patriots are a conspiracist bunch who generally also believe there is a plot in the works to implement martial law, herd white Christians into concentration camps operated by FEMA, and replace our democracy with a “New World Order” run by shadowy European elites.

The 70-year-old Phillips, a former Nixon official who founded the Conservative Caucus, has long been a central figure of the Patriot movement. In 1992, he created the U.S. Taxpayers Party (later rechristened the Constitution Party), a pro-theocracy organization that favored the death penalty for “abortionists.” He was its candidate for president in 1992, 1996 and 2000, never winning more than 0.2% of the vote despite appearing on the presidential ballot in up to 41 states. He has proposed junking the Voting Rights Act and also been involved in racist neo-Confederate groups that push versions of Christian Reconstructionist theology, which calls for the “reconstruction” of society under Old Testament rule. After a 37-year reign as chairman of the Conservative Caucus, Phillips retired in January, citing health concerns and the need to spend more time with his family. He still appears to hold the post of president of the group’s fundraising arm.

It is in this capacity that he appealed for funds, reminding his supporters of the group’s “unique leadership in key public policy battles” such as “leading the way in urging an end to financial support for the U.N., the World Bank, IMF, NAFTA, WTO, and other New World Order bureaucracies.”

He signed off by replacing the customary “Sincerely” with “Urgently” and added, repeating his earlier lie: “P.S. Because of the illegal alien influx, tuberculosis, leprosy and polio are no longer confined to the Third World. They are back in America. And you are paying for the privilege of being exposed to these diseases. … I pray you will help TCCF in this time of crisis for America.”

  • Norio

    As indicated by Leah Nelson, the lies about immigrants being a threat to our health were refuted years ago by several studies, as pointed out in the review she refers to at The IMPORTANT thing to remember is that this same review finds that such claims are just part of a panoply of lies, including claims that: undocumented immigrants kill 25 Americans a day; undocumented immigrants are more criminal than natives; immigrants are depressing the wages of native Americans; undocumented immigrants are “stealing” American jobs; poor immigrants cost taxpayers a fortune in social services; and proposed immigration reform would vastly overpopulate America. These are all lies promulgated by WNs in an attempt to scare regular folks into becoming anti-immigrant.
    What is ironic is that WNs are themselves scared–they are scared of what is imminent, scared that they are an endangered species, scared of the fact that the populace of the future will be less white than rainbow, and scared of losing what little meaning they can find in life through racism.

  • A.D.M.

    I am so LOL at Jason Smith calling someone else ignorant. It’s like David Duke calling someone else a racist.

  • Walt

    Jason Smith said “Karl Marx died in poverty a broken man and you will too.”

    Karl Marx was not a “broken man” living “in poverty” when he died at age 64 from bronchitis and pluerisy, almost 3 years after his wife – a daughter of a Prussian aristocrat – died, He was still writing and publishing – his latest work. “The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State” was published in 1884 after his death. His funeral was attended by about 1000 people, and he was interred in Highgate Cemetery (hardly the burial place for a pauper). His wealthy sponsor – Engels – left Marx’s daughters “a significant portion” of his $4.8 Million estate. I do believe Jason does no actual research, he either regurgitates the crap he’s been spoon fed or simply pulls “facts” out of his ass.

  • scribbij

    Jason Smith—Jane Schiff initials both JS? Hmmm.

  • A Walkaway

    Ruben, I’m not sure if you were being facetious or not, but this continent wasn’t pristine and some of the diseases were known.

    TB, for one, leaves lesions on bone that are very distinctive and characteristic. I’ve seen the evidence that TB was here before Columbus sailed – in the bones of some of my ancestors (I’m an anthropologist/archaeologist who is also American Indian).

    Syphilis existed here too, but as a contagious skin disorder that people recovered from and then were immune. (It also has been found in pre-contact Europe). The sexual version seems to also be primarily an urban phenomena.

    Influenza was a new one, along with the plague and smallpox.

    Most of the disease outbreaks were caused by urban living with poor hygiene and diet/bad water. This continent too was heavily settled when Europeans showed on the scene.

    As far as immigrants, depending on the situation, they may or may not be a threat in a medical sense. Certainly “Illegal” ones could be carrying something, but keeping them in hiding (by threats of extradition) isn’t the solution. I would also argue that most of the people on this continent are immigrants or descendants of the same, and thus they really don’t have room to complain about others. Finally, if we had a medical system closer to that of Europe, our standard of living would increase and there would be less threat from contagious diseases.

    I would also argue that raising the standard of living for the poor around the world is the best way to deal with immigration – then people would not have misery and poverty as a driving force for immigration.

  • Aron


    You’re calling everyone else ignorant? Have you looked in a mirror lately?

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Please Jason, explain to me what is wrong with my “rants.” Show your work.

  • Jason Smith


    You need to stop getting all your information from “Das Kapital”. Karl Marx died in poverty a broken man and you will too.

    Ruslan, Your ignorant rants come straight off the Communist Party USA website. You need to get some new material.

  • Ruslan Amirkhanov

    Yeah, Jason’s definitely defeated. It must be so frustrating for these WNs to get so pumped up in the echo chamber of Stormfront, then get trounced when they try out their ignorant rants in a venue they don’t control.

  • ruben

    the right wing nuts in arizona and everywhere else are just a bunch of fringe lunatics….jason smiths delusional posts are exhibit A…yeah i also heard about the so-called mexican hating hardline sheriff in arizona,but it now turns out that he is gay and had a gay lover of mexican decent is he pissed that maybe he was dumped by him?…..funny,funny,funny!….like i said on another thread arizona is now like disney land for all the right wing crazies and it seems that they are so stupid that they can’t even get out of there own way.

  • Supersonic250

    Jason Smith said,
    Ruben, Reynardine, Sam, Linnea, Shadow, etc ….
    Your narrative of history is a lie.

    ….WOW. I think you broke him, guys. He didn’t even TRY to attempt any of his idiocy. On one hand, I’m happy because we don’t hafta hear any of his crap… but on the other hand, his crap is quite amusing for how insane it is. I don’t know where to put my emotions.

  • Reynardine

    Ruben, you can’t drive somebody to where they are already.

  • Aron


    YOU are a lie.

  • ruben

    jason smith i think its time you stopped getting your info from mien kampf ….it drove hitler to insanity and it will do the same to you.

  • Jane Schiff

    Sam you nailed it.

  • Tracie Altizer

    We have a son w/Asperger’s Syndrome. It is a type of Autism. I have traveled to Europe as has my first cousin, who is a marine. He also has a son w/Asperger’s. In our travels aorund the globe we’ve witnessed what lack of vaccinations have wrought on these societies. It is genetic and I am sure the native Americans didn’t appreciate European colonists bringing the common cold among so many other goodies. Btw,Mexican Americans are native Americans. 10,0000 tears and years later, they have earned it

  • Shadow Wolf

    While staying on the topic of Illegal Immigration. Did anyone caught the BIG SHOCKING news yet? For those who didn’t. Here’s the catch:

    Our own(where the Feathered Bastard works), the Phoenix New Times, our local alternative news weekly, has unearthed what appears to be the greatest shock of 2012 in Arizona. PNT has revealed that Pinal County Sheriff Babeu is now officially (gasp!) “gay”.


    This is the man who is running for Congress on a hardline Republican ticket. When I mean “hardline”, I’m talking about a rabid wing-nut ideologue. Such ideology closely associated with the abhorrence of nativism, white supremacy, anti-Mexican, anti-immigration, anti-Hispanic, racism, anti-government sentiments and the like. This is the man who went on a white supremacist radio show last year to pollute the airwaves with anti-immigration rhetoric. This is the man, who has allowed neo-Nazis(headed by J.T. Ready) to patrol the Vekol Valley desert, in search of illegals.

    Arizona politics couldn’t get any weirder. And that’s whats making it exciting in Arizona. I can’t wait for the next “shocking” news to come out any time soon. Hopefully, that would be Shurf arpaio being indicted on federal charges.


  • Jason Smith

    Ruben, Reynardine, Sam, Linnea, Shadow, etc ….

    Your narrative of history is a lie.

  • Sam Molloy

    Another reason for some type of universal health care, before we all get cooties.

  • Aron


    I’m with you here. Jane’s comment was utterly obtuse, and I too found it impossible to determine whether she was pro- or anti-vax. I also completely agree with you regarding the dangers of anti-science and anti-government.

    And even more than that, I am myself autistic. I was diagnosed some ten years ago. Had been vaccinated much earlier. Symptoms didn’t appear until many years later. I completely disagree with Jenny McCarthy’s thesis regarding thimerosol. I blame my repeatedly banging my head against a brick wall. Ha!

  • Jane Schiff

    Ian, I think I’m suggesting that we might agree to disagree. Can we agree that there are way too many Americans running around without shots?
    Extreme right wing and extreme left wing politics are compromising the well – being of everyone except billionaires. This web site is alarming:
    and look who we have here:
    ^ How To Legally Avoid Vaccinations at:

    I vehemently believe that traditional medical care for the
    “middle” class has been a downhill racer since the early 1980’s. One can’t walk into a sliding scale clinic and get an adult booster shot without shelling out some serious cash if one isn’t properly insured. There’s something wrong with the whole mindset – one of our sons who’s in graduate school carries the required University’s medical insurance. That insurance policy explicitly excludes any kind of coverage for vaccinations.
    I’m still haunted by the Bill Moyers Journal presentation that was shown sometime around 2007 or so that featured Wendell Potter’s testimony and his take on
    Remote Area Medical (RAM) http://www.standupforhealthcar.....ers-indeed.

    Pay attention to Reynardine’s choice of words – “The Mask of the Red Death is entering the room with the clock” – Reynardine and everyone – have you seen an oldy but goody by Ingmar Bergman – “The Seventh Seal?” The clergy were unfavorably portrayed because they milked the medical crisis for beaucoup bucks in this very graphic tale. BTW – the film takes place during during one of the Crusades. Yup.

  • Phila


    My wife also has an ME in special education and works daily with children with autism and their caregivers, so I’m quite aware that the mercury issue is “alive and well” among ill-informed or obstinate parents. However, the fact remains that almost all thimerosal was phased out of childhood vaccines many years ago, with no appreciable effect on the rate of new ASD cases. Whatever appeal this hypothesis may’ve had initially, it turned out to be wrong and it’s a dead issue among well-informed people.

    If you go back and read again what I’m saying

    I don’t mean this in a hostile or insulting way, but I read your initial comment three times without having the faintest idea of what you were trying to say. I still have no clear sense of what your argument is. If you’re implying that the rise of anti-government and anti-science ideology poses a greater threat than immigrants to U.S. public health, than I completely agree with you. But that certainly wasn’t clear from your original comment, which was oblique and scattered to the point of being unintelligible (for me, at least).

  • Ian

    “My MEd in special education and 28 years of classroom teaching and casework[…]”

    Doesn’t matter. I have respect for your profession, but it does not make you an expert. You may say you’re not anti-vaccination, but you are spreading dangerous misinformation, whether you mean to or not.

    The point is very, very moot. Vaccines do not cause autism spectrum disorders. Period, end of story. Even the suggestion that the jury is still out is flat our wrong. This fact belongs in the same group as the fact that the earth revolves around the sun, gravity, and the fact that water is wet.

  • Jane Schiff

    Phila and Ian – My MEd in special education and 28 years of classroom teaching and casework force me to insist the mercury issues are well and alive for some consumers, medical researchers, lawyers and some manufacturers. Not moot yet. If you go back and read again what I’m saying, you’ll see that I’m not an advocate of skipping vaccines. Unfortunately, as I mentioned I’ve seen a private school waiver form for inoculations. Also public schools and charters aren’t off the hook for preventing the spreading of disease. There are written instructions contained in the state proficiency tests that instruct test administrators that if a student becomes stressed out from testing and vomits on the test, that instructor is quite literally required to insert the student copy covered with the vomit into a zip lock bag and return it with the rest of the tests that get delivered back to the companies that do the grading. The student who vomited gets another chance at a fresh copy. Fortunately I haven’t had any pukers and hope I never do. Nobody takes our public health agencies’ knowledge bases seriously. Consequently diseases do spread. Somehow, citizen germs carry fewer cooties…

  • Ian


    Vaccines do not cause autism.


  • Shadow Wolf

    I should also make it know here, when former CNN minuteklan inciter–Lou Dobbs was let off the hook. So did MSNBC with Pat Buchanan. “After nearly 10 years”, MSNBC finally cuts the virulent cancer from it’s network. It’s about time they did so.

  • Linnea

    Dobbs may be gone, but it’s clear that his BS lives on. The SPLC blowing the lid off his lies was one of the more entertaining things I’d seen up to that time.

  • Phila

    I don’t think research oriented pediatrics and pediatric neurology as a whole are being really listened to by enough companies for the express purpose of their changing over to the manufacture of mercury – free vaccines.


    On the whole, your argument is impossible to follow. But if you’re worried about “mercury” in vaccines, please note that thimerosal was removed from most U.S. vaccines roughly a decade ago. Most anti-vaccine activists have already moved on to bigger and better delusions, like aluminum.

  • Shadow Wolf

    I supposed that should spend more time coming up with innovative ways to implement programs to better screen legal aliens and refugees who come here legally. Rather than whine and complain about the disease carrying criminal aliens who are here unlawfully. It’s not 100% factual to determined if these illegal aliens do carry some of them deadly diseases, but the American people shouldn’t doubt it either and shrug this off as nonsense.

    Criminal illegal aliens is not just a law enforcement issue, but also a public health issue.

  • Jane Schiff

    I would love to know if the children of the members of the
    Conservative Caucus Foundation and the adult members themselves have complete immunizations. I don’t think research oriented pediatrics and pediatric neurology as a whole are being really listened to by enough companies for the express purpose of their changing over to the manufacture of mercury – free vaccines. This understandably worries the parents with children who may have Autism/Asperger Spectrum Disorders/Syndromes. I really think that the medical and legal juries are still out on this one save for a few of those who have litigated and testified to obtain relief which they may or may not have received. Whether the pediatric and pediatric neurology research is correct doesn’t underlie the entire issue. Look what happened to the astronauts when NASA blew off the opinions of their engineers. Brute monetary force won over science. Which brings me to the point of my comment – certain political positions influence how some of us care for our bodies in less than traditionally conservative ways. Some of us don’t give a care and deliberately are taking the risk of exposing the rest of us to disease. Oh but I forgot – some private schools and home schooling hypothetically get SOME of us off the hook. I have literally seen one of the inoculation waiver forms. Let’s make sure we give measles Patient “0” a “pass” for attending the Super Bowl.

  • Reynardine

    These diseases not only never were confined to the Third World, they are increasing exactly because of the increasing stratification of society. On the one hand, we have jet-setters circumnavigating the globe and bringing back communicable diseases in record time. On the other hand, there are increasing populations of those who can’t afford medical care, whose attempts to use under-the-table antibiotics rarely involve the right medications, and then never long enough or strong enough, so that resistant pathogens are increasing exponentially. Add to that the xenophobic bigotry that demands that medical authorities act as immigration law enforcement, and you create a pool of people, many here lawfully and some even born here, who won’t seek medical attention. Add a little dollop of vaccine conspiracy theory… Well, the Mask of the Red Death is entering the room with the clock…

  • ruben

    he’s right most if not all of these diseases were brought here to this pristine continent by the immigrants from europe.