Don’t forget refugee health concerns, perhaps more deadly than terrorism

We have an entire category here at RRW on refugee and immigrant health (286 previous posts!) and I’ve maintained for years that health problems coming into the US with refugees and the cost of treating the myriad diseases and chronic conditions could ultimately be more significant to your community than a terrorist attack might be.

TB photo
Those refugees with latent TB are admitted to the US and some who are being treated for active TB may also gain entry. Photo:

That said, here is an informative article (hat tip: Joanne) from The Journal of Family Practice a few years ago which goes over the issues facing the medical community as we ‘welcome’ over 100,000 refugees and asylum seekers to America each year.

Pay special attention to the sections on Tuberculosis and HIV (there is no longer a bar to admission for HIV/AIDS and refugees are no longer even tested for it in advance of admission).  Other big medical issues include intestinal parasites and hepatitis.  And, of course mental health.

In 2012 we posted a film describing how refugees with active TB were being prepared for entry into the US, here.

Here is how the Journal of Family Practice article opens:

Refugees arrive in the United States with complex medical issues, including illnesses rarely seen here, mental health concerns, and chronic conditions such as diabetes and hypertension.

I encourage all of you working in ‘pockets of resistance’ to be sure to do your homework on health issues, including mental health issues.  According to Anastasia Brown of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops, 75% of Iraqis entering the US have mental illness. See Journal of Migration and Human Security report, here.

The Centers for Disease Control also has important information on its website, here.

And, in the past we have noted that both Texas and Minnesota health departments have lots of good information about refugee health on their websites, and I expect some other states do as well.  If your state health department does not report on refugee medical problems that is something you should be advocating for where you live.

Again, see our ‘Health issues’ category by clicking here.

Mental illness: new ticket to America?

Searching around the world wide web one can find much being done in Tanzania and Africa generally in the mental health field.

An appeals court in Richmond, Virginia has granted asylum to a man who says his treatment for mental health problems in Tanzania amounted to persecution.   The general understanding of what constitutes a legitimate claim for asylum usually contains these elements:

The refugee/asylum seeker must demonstrate a “well founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group or political opinion.”

No doubt the applicant in this case was fearful, but his complaint does not fit the definition.  There is, however, an ambitious movement afoot by immigration lawyers to expand the definition beyond its original intent.  One could conclude from this case that anyone treated badly for myriad reasons in their home country was eligible for asylum if they could get themselves into the US in order to apply.

One thing that struck me in this news is that the man was denied in lower courts and the Court of Appeals split, so one of the judges wasn’t buying the story and there must be much more to this case then we are being told.

From UPI.  (Hat tip: Pungentpeppers)

RICHMOND, Va., Jan. 22 (UPI) — A federal appellate court panel has ruled a bipolar man who said he was repeatedly tortured in Tanzania should qualify for asylum in the United States.

The Homeland Security Department tried to deport Tumaini Temu back to Tanzania in 2010, four years after his temporary visa expired.  [For what reason did we originally grant him a temporary visa to get into the US?—ed]

Temu applied for asylum and claimed he was persecuted in his home country due to his mental illness, which is considered demon possession in Tanzania, Courthouse News Service reported.

An immigration judge and the Board of Immigration Appeals denied his application, but a three-judge panel of the 4th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Richmond, Va., reversed the decision on a split vote.


Temu came to the United States after his family rejected him, and he was diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

Get ready for a parade of crazy asylum-seeking Tanzanians in need of meds through Obamacare!  And, just a reminder, once granted asylum these new “refugees” are given access to all of the social services (welfare programs) available to refugees.

Endnote:  I just now searched around for more on the treatment of mental health problems in Tanzania and in Africa generally and note that there is much happening there, and throughout Africa, to help those with mental illnesses.  We don’t need to be moving them to America!

See our Health issues category (here) for more on refugee mental health problems.

Buffalo Somali convicted of beating son to death (another immigrant mental illness case?)

No gun used to kill this student, just a rolling pin….(do I hear a call for confiscating rolling pins?)

Actually, readers, this conviction happened in October and I missed it until a friend from Tennessee alerted me that the excellent website, Creeping Sharia, had posted it yesterday, here.

We first told you about the murder in Buffalo (an impoverished city which immigrant advocates are actively trying to re-build by pouring in third worlders, go figure!) here back in April.   In May we told you that the Christian and Jewish population was declining in Buffalo as the Muslim population was increasing.

Here is the gruesome report on the trial of Ali-Mohamed Mohamud in the UK Daily Mail:

Ali-Mohamed Mohamud was convicted Thursday of second-degree murder for beating to death his 10-year-old stepson.

Homicide detectives and prosecutors in Buffalo, New York, said the case was one of the worst they had ever seen.

After duct-taping a sock in the boy’s mouth and binding his hands with electrical cord, the stepfather savagely beat the boy so bad he separated the his head from the spinal cord, crushing the back of his head and exposing his brain, according to court testimony.

‘Justice has been done,’ prosecutor Thomas M. Finnerty said after the verdict, reached after three hours of jury deliberations.

Mohamud could face 25 years to life in prison when sentenced November 15, reports the The Buffalo News.

So, did fear of being labeled Islamophobic contribute to the boy’s death?

The death could have been avoided after it was revealed the boy called 911 twice in the past year to report abuse.

Abdifatah Mohamud, from Buffalo, New York, was found beaten to death in his family’s basement last week. He was bound, gagged and struck repeatedly with a rolling pin.

Though the Buffalo Police Department is investigating how officers handled the calls, they did confirm they reported the allegations to Erie County Child Protective Services – who are accused of not doing enough to help the boy or remove him from the home.

They are refusing to comment on the case.

We’ve reported twice this week already about mental illness and immigrants, here and here.