Paul Broun on swine flu and illegal immigration

Speculating ahead of the facts is dicey in any profession, but it’s particularly hazardous in politics. And especially on live television.

U.S. Rep. Paul Broun (R-Athens) was on C-SPAN’s “Washington Journal” this morning, discussing the swine flu outbreak. Broun was a logical choice. Not only is the congressman a physician, he sits on the House Homeland Security Committee.

While he finished strong, Broun got off to an inauspicious start when the moderator asked for his reaction to the first death in the United States attributed to the flu: a 23-month-old toddler in Texas.

Broun drew a straight line between the swine flu and illegal immigration. News outlets would afterwards report that the dead child was from Mexico City, brought by his family to the border town of Brownsville,Texas, on April 4 to visit relatives. The family arrived by plane.

See the entire program here. This is the relevant part of the exchange:

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 — Mexico citizens — putting a further strain on those facilities.

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.

Moderator: Looking over more Associated Press stories, I do not see right now where the child was from. But how should the government respond?

Broun: I think we need to have very active screening of people that are coming to this country across the Mexican border. Right now what the border people are doing is — they’re just asking people if they’re sick.

I think it’s just totally inane to do that. We need to investigate, see if people have fevers and — we can do some non-invasive screening of individuals coming into this country. But again, the huge problem that we have is the open-border policy that the Bush administration, and now even worse with the Obama administration of allowing illegal aliens across the border.

Moderator: Why not just close the border?

Broun: Well, I don’t think closing the border is going to help. It’s going to cause a tremendous economic interruption in America if we do that. There’s a lot of economic or commercial traffic that goes through the border — we need to continue to do that….

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14 comments Add your comment


April 29th, 2009
5:23 pm

If any politicians get sick with swine flu, the world will ask, “Is it an idiot from Georgia?”


April 29th, 2009
7:01 pm

Once you said “Broun drew a straight (and imaginary) line between swine flu and illegal immigration,” there was no need to identify him as a Republican.

Only a Georgia Republican could be so clueless and shameless in his pandering to the ignorant.


April 29th, 2009
8:53 pm

I wonder what Bible these conservatives/republicans are reading: One hand is that abortion is shameful YET they don’t won’t government in their panties or pocketbooks BUT to be pro-life (life and birth and afterwards) only if the child is American…Priceless

Will Jones - Atlanta

April 29th, 2009
10:49 pm

Railing about illegal immigration then complaining that we can’t close the border because all his fatcat pals won’t be able to make big profits by paying slave wages and his Roman Catholic pals will lose the collection plate money they need to pay off all the pedophile priest judgments…What a pander and a moron and a hypocrite.


April 30th, 2009
11:42 am

I find it curious that these “illegal immigrants” strain of the swine flu didn’t infect anybody on the way to New York, Spain or Germany.

You would think, if an illegal immigrant traveled from Mexico and infected all those people in NY, then there would be a trail of sick people in his/her wake. Not so.

No wonder Broun was only allowed to make house calls. If my doctor were as stupid as Paul Broun…I would recommend having him kicked out of the practice as well. That is only if I went there before he asked my wife if she would like an unnecessary breat exam.


April 30th, 2009
3:19 pm

Bottom line–the vast vast majority of cases in the US are US citizens who traveled to Mexico and returned.
So either we tell all Americans in Mexico they can’t come back even–especially–if they are sick or we tell all Mexicans they have to leave Mexico to avoid infecting American tourists.
BTW, that’s snark.

[...] 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 [...]


April 30th, 2009
7:48 pm

the guy is a racist.

He blames everything on “mexican” immigrants…much like Hitler blamed the Jews and the KKK blames everybody that is not white.

[...] 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 [...]

May 1st, 2009
4:45 am

listen you retrograde and myopic insects, please suck on a gun barrel and do us a favor!

Hey, also Saxby, you there? I think someone is raping your mules and stealing your playbook!

Swine Flu

May 1st, 2009
8:43 am


May 1st, 2009
11:43 am

Hong Kong just confirmed its first case of swine flu…I wonder how many people of hispanic descent illegally cross that border.

Perhaps Paul Broun has the answer.


May 2nd, 2009
10:53 am

Paul is so unlike his father. His father was a thoughtful politician who saw all sides of the issues. Young Paul is a far right reactionary. He is a fear monger who tosses his extreme religious views out to defend his positions. Why does his district vote for him ? He and brother Connie’s behaviors of entitlement and immoral behavior reflect more about who they are real life.

You knew it was going to happen…

May 2nd, 2009
12:35 pm

[...] there’s more! This guy is an MD, too! You can watch it [...]