Fake Medical Scares and Immigration
Updated: Jan 6
In Portland, Maine, 200 asylum-seekers have arrived over the past week and hundreds of people have offered to volunteer as the city provides shelter and humanitarian assistance to the refugees. As it seems anytime there is an influx of immigration, a common misinformation tactic is to make false claims about the medical threat the immigrants pose to the community. In Portland, it got so bad that held a press conference to debunk misinformation that has been spread over the internet about the asylum-seekers coming to Portland.
In an interview, City Manager Jon Jennings said he wants to stop the spreading of rumors, particularly about the health of the asylum-seekers who have arrived this week.
"Unfortunately in these kinds of situations there are all kinds of rumors, and it's for all of us to be responsible in what we are saying publicly," Jennings said.
Jennings said rumors that asylum-seekers in San Antonio possibly had the Ebola virus gained so much traction on social media and conspiracy theory websites that he held a news conference to dispel them.
Jennings also said many asylum seekers have come through South America and are screened after crossing different borders. He said they are screened once again by U.S. Customs and Border Protection.