Migrants don't bring disease. In fact, they help fight it, report says

Migrants don't bring disease. In fact, they help fight it, report says

- in Health
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By Maggie Fox

People who oppose immigration often argue that migrants bring disease with them, and that they then become a burden to health systems in their new countries because they’re so sick.

But that’s not true, a team of experts argued in a new report released Wednesday.

In fact, they point out that immigrants make up a significant portion of the healthcare work forces in their new homelands.

“There is no evidence to show that migrants are spreading disease,” said Dr. Paul Spiegel, who directs the Center for Humanitarian Health at Johns Hopkins School of Public Health. “That is a false argument that is used to keep migrants out,” Spiegel told NBC News.

“Contrary to the current political narrative portraying migrants as disease carriers who are a blight on society, migrants are an essential part of economic stability in the U.S.,” added Terry McGovern, who heads Columbia University’s Department of Population and Family Health.

McGovern and Spiegel were among 24 commissioners who worked on a two-year project to analyze whether migration spreads disease and to look into the effects that migrants have on health. The final study, published in the Lancet medical journal, finds that migration benefits economies. It also finds that people are using myths to fight migration.

“In too many countries, the issue of migration is used to divide societies and advance a populist agenda,” said Lancet editor Richard Horton.

“With one billion people on the move today, growing populations in many regions of the world, and the rising aspirations of a new generation of young people, migration is not going away. Migrants commonly contribute more to the economy than they cost, and how we shape their health and well-being today will impact our societies for generations to come.”

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