Wednesday, February 16, 2005

UK Pols Row Over Immigrant Screening

Immigration is now the hot button issue in Europe. After years of being hidden in the politically correct closet, during which no one but fringe extremists dared bring the subject to their lips, European voters now demand that their governments pay attention and end the open-door policies that have thrown their societies into chaos and threaten European cultural identities. British politicians - among the slowest to respond to their electorate's wishes - find themselves scrambling to overcome decades of multiculturalist-blinded thinking and offer "reform" proposals.
The Conservative party raised the political heat on immigration yesterday by demanding that anyone seeking to come to Britain for more than a year should undergo compulsory health tests including screening for HIV and TB.

Michael Howard, the Tory leader, said: "At the next election people will face a clear choice: limited and controlled immigration under the Conservatives or unlimited immigration under Mr Blair."

In Tory proposals modelled on schemes in Australia, New Zealand and Canada, potential migrants from outside the EU, apart from asylum seekers, would be subject to the compulsory tests. They would also be imposed on anyone coming for a shorter period to work in healthcare, childcare or teaching.

The Tory proposal expands on a recently unveiled Labor plan that concentrates on screening new immigrants for tuberculosis.

Under yesterday's Conservative proposals, HIV patients seeking to come to Britain for more than a year could be banned from entering the country on the grounds they were a health risk and a cost to the taxpayer. Potential migrants with HIV would be considered "on a case by case basis" the party said, arguing it was essential to limit the impact on the NHS. The Conservatives said 80% of people diagnosed with heterosexually-acquired HIV in the UK in 2003 were thought to have been infected in Africa.

One would think that screening immigrants for transmittable diseases would be simple common sense. National governments exist, after all, to protect their citizens from danger. Individuals infected with contagious diseases can transmit the infection to others, threatening their lives and health and increasing the cost of health care for the general population. Preventing the entrance of individuals infected with contagious diseases (save in special cases for immediate medical treatment during which quarantine would be applied) would seem to be a policy point upon which rational people could easily agree. But in the bizarre world of political correctness, common sense finds no foothold.

Last night, the planned HIV tests were criticised as "prejudice-based policy" by Lisa Power, of the Terrence Higgins Trust. "This is not an effective policy and there is no proof that similar measures have worked elsewhere," she said.
Really? Ms. Power seems to be asserting that no proof exists to demonstrate that refusing HIV infected individuals entry into one's nation will prevent those infected individuals from transmitting the disease to one's countrymen. Is Ms. Power serious? Or does she simply deny the existence of logic? As for the policy being "prejudice-based," well, that's just the usual PC excuse for everything. The British government - as a sovereign state - has every right to discriminate against admitting immigrants on any basis it chooses. Opting to keep out individuals who may transmit lethal diseases to its people is exercising prejudice in favor of life. It is an act of self-preservation. If this issue were put before the British people, does anyone doubt the outcome of such a vote?
Shaun Woodward, a former Tory MP and now Labour member of the Commons human rights committee, last night said the Conservative move "borders on the obscene". He doubted the Conservatives would be able to implement the policy since it breached human rights laws by "being both discriminatory and disproportionate".

Actually, any policy that facilitates the unnecessary transmission of fatal diseases to the British population "borders on the obscene." If anything, the Tory policy doesn’t go far enough. But the mere suggestion of the slightest bit of common sense on the issues sent Des Brown, Labor’s immigration minister, into babbling incoherence.

"On HIV, the medical advice mitigates against the Tory plan. Routine health screening for HIV/AIDS would not at this stage be productive.

Upon what world does Mr. Brown reside? HIV screening tests identify - quickly, cheaply and with reliability comparable to other disease screen techniques - individuals infected with HIV. Once an individual has been diagnosed with HIV expensive medical treatment are needed to keep the disease from becoming full-blown AIDS in almost every case. HIV infected individuals can infect others with this lethal disease. True enough, it usually takes intimate contact to spread the infection. However, as the recent possible discovery of a mutated drug-resistant strain of HIV in New York City demonstrates, some people cannot readily be trusted to control their sexual behaviors and will spread the disease either deliberately or through reckless disregard for the health of others. Once an HIV infected individual has been admitted into the country, there is a significan risk that he (or less likely, she) will pass the infection to others. Since that risk can be completely avoided by denying the infected person entry, that denial represents the only moral and rational choice in keeping with the country's long-term best interests, not to mention the health and happiness of its citizenry.

In fact, the consequences of admitting HIV infected people from abroad has already been visited on British citizens. Consider the case of Feston Konzani, a 28 year old asylum seeker from Malawi, who infected three English women with HIV after immigrating from Africa in 1998. Last August, Mr. Konzani was convicted of "causing grevious bodily harm" to the three women and was sentenced to ten years in prison. In handing down his sentence, the judge noted that Mr. Konzani had known he was infected, but did not inform the women. However, Mr. Konzani's lawyer, Timothy Roberts has appealed that conviction arguing that the verdicts were "unsafe" because the judge committed a "serious misdirection of law to direct the jury that a complainant could not, as a matter of law, consent to the contraction of a sexually transmitted disease unless that complainant specifically contemplated the risk of becoming infected with the particular diseases which was, in fact, transmitted." Delightful. If Mr. Roberts ever wishes to cross the pond, the ACLU probably has an opening waiting for him.
Defending the [Tory] proposals Mr. Howard said yesterday: "The British people deserve the best standards of public health. We need to control who is coming to Britain to ensure that they are not a public health risk and to protect access of the NHS [National Health Services]."

This proposition is controversial or "pandering to prejudice" only to those who have become so blinded by political correctness that they can no longer distinguish between fantasy and reality, and who are perfectly willing to sacrifice the lives of their countrymen on the PC altar.


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