Tags: Immigration | Chicken Pox | Immigrants | New Mexico | FLETC | ICE

Chicken Pox Outbreak Locks Down Immigrant Facility

By John Blosser   |   Thursday, 31 Jul 2014 12:26 PM

An outbreak of chicken pox has slapped a quarantine lockdown on a New Mexico detention facility housing 500 illegal immigrant families and halted all deportations.

The Washington Times reported that the Federal Law Enforcement Training Centers (FLETC) facility in Artesia, NM, has been placed under quarantine because of an outbreak of varicella, or chicken pox, in the center's residents.

Rep. Steve Pearce, R-N.M., said in a statement, "As the FLETC facility reaches maximum capacity, I am increasingly concerned for the health and safety of the women and children at FLETC and for the local community. The virus, that has caused two residents to be put in isolation, has halted all departures."

Pearce noted that ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) has confirmed the quarantine, and KFoxTV 14, El Paso, quoted ICE spokeswoman Leticia Zamarripa as saying, "One of the residents at the Artesia Residential Family Center has been diagnosed with chicken pox.

"The individual is being treated by medical professionals, and necessary precautions are being taken to protect the other detainees at the center. ICE has contacted both local and health officials, and is closely monitoring the situation. This case does not pose a health risk to the local community. Out of an abundance of caution, ICE has temporarily halted the intake and removal of detainees from the facility."

However, El Paso public health director Ruben Resendes told KFox that it is very likely that the infection will spread. "If you have chicken pox, you are infectious two days before you even start showing symptoms," he said. "It is one of the most contagious viruses out there.

"The virus stays with you and adults can get shingles. It gives you a severe and painful rash around your torso and it's very contagious."

Illegal immigrant health problems are likely to give ammunition to Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, R-Wis., and Rep. Mike Turner, R-Ohio, in their recently introduced UAC State Authority Act legislation, which would give states the right to reject federal attempts to house unaccompanied illegal immigrant children in their states," Turner told the Dayton Daily News.

"The ability of the federal government to hand-pick a city, county, or state as a UAC (Unaccompanied Alien Children) receiver site without first consulting the governor's office disregards the real impact these decisions have on regional communities and significantly diminishes states' rights," Turner said in a statement.

The government will treat illegals at the Eastern New Mexico Regional Medical Center in Roswell while the Artesia facility is in lockdown, Pearce reported.

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