WASHINGTON – Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., Thursday released the following statement on the case of a Mexican national who crossed the Mexican-U.S. border numerous times while infected with a highly contagious form of tuberculosis.
“I am disturbed by the apparent poor coordination between CDC and the Department of Homeland Security that allowed a Mexican citizen known to be infected with a highly drug resistant form of TB to cross the Southern border 76 times and board an airplane without detection. This incident is strikingly similar to the case of Andrew Speaker, who crossed the northern border in May while infected with TB. Our border security and aviation controls are not working if this type of breach is allowed to occur over and over again. In July, Senators Collins, Clinton, and I requested a full examination by the Government Accountability Office of the systems and processes in place to respond to these types of health threats, and to determine the extent to which federal agencies, other key organizations, and foreign governments share information and follow established protocols for prompt response to these types of incidents. I look forward to the GAO’s response, but clearly the federal government has not learned its lesson from the Speaker case, and I intend to find out why.”