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Vaccines Debate Enters Immigration Fight

 / Updated 
Image: Cameron Fierro
In this Thursday, Jan. 29, 2015, photo, pediatrician Charles Goodman vaccinates 1-year-old Cameron Fierro with the measles-mumps-rubella vaccine, or MMR vaccine, at his practice in Northridge, Calif. The largest measles outbreak in recent memory occurred in Ohio's Amish country where 383 people were sickened last year after several traveled to the Philippines and brought the virus home. While that outbreak got the public's attention, it's nowhere near the level as the latest measles outbreak that originated at Disneyland in December, prompting politicians to weigh in and parents to voice their vaccinations views on Internet message boards. (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes)Damian Dovarganes / AP

The fight over President Barack Obama's immigration executive action has become so heated that the controversy involving measles and children's vaccinations has now entered the debate.

Republicans, saying Obama's executive action constitutes executive overreach, have tried to block his immigration policy changes by attaching amendments to the Department of Homeland Security's spending bill. Democrats have been blocking bill and insisting the bill be passed without the amendments. The legislative wrangling has brought the usual arguments, such as the effect immigrants have on the U.S. economy and American jobs.

But the debate spiraled into other areas earlier this week when Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., tried to tie the measles outbreak and deaths of American children to people illegally in the U.S.

In response, the AFL-CIO tagged him winner of its "Deporter of the Week" prize as part of a social media campaign the union launched to "expose the efforts of congressional Republicans to attack immigrant working families."

Potential 2016 GOP presidential candidate Ben Carson, a vaccination supporter who has called for sealing the border, also said people not entering the country legally could be partly to blame for the measles outbreak, The Hill reported.

Latino political cartoonist Lalo Alcaraz mixed the two issues _ immigration and vaccinations _ in another way, noting the spread of smallpox and the role it played in the downfall of the Aztec capital. "Raza, we don't need vaccines. It went great in 1521," his posting says.


_ Suzanne Gamboa