Typhus, Covid-19 and Xenophobia at the US-Mexico Border

Breanna Bernal, Gabe Rust, Latavonia Belcher

Image Credit: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

COVID-19 is not the first case where an increased sentiment of xenophobia has impacted public health policy at the US-Mexico border. In this podcast, we will go over the Typhus outbreak of 1916 and draw similarities between COVID-19 and how these policies tend to negatively impact those most vulnerable. We will give an expansive description of the conditions immigrants were and still are subjected to and how it relates to medicalized racism.

Further Readings:

Andersson, H., & Bettiza, S. (2021). US migrant camp ‘kids feel like they’re in prison’. BBC News. broadcast, BBC. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/news/av/world-us-canada-57576306.

Markel, H. (2005). Lice, Typhus, and Riots on the Texas-Mexico Border. In When germs travel: Six major epidemics that have invaded America since 1900 and the fears they have unleashed (pp. 113–140). essay, Vintage. 

Molina, N. (2011). Borders, Laborers, and Racialized Medicalization: Mexican Immigration and US Public Health Practices in the 20th Century. American Journal of Public Health, 101(6), 1024–1031.

Montoya-Galvez, C. (2022, April 5). What is Title 42, the covid-19 border policy set to end in late may? CBS News. Retrieved from https://www.cbsnews.com/news/title-42-immigration-border-biden-covid-19-cdc/

 Mukpo, A. (2020, August 27). What’s it like to be in immigration lockup during a pandemic? American Civil Liberties Union. Retrieved from https://www.aclu.org/news/immigrants-rights/whats-it-like-to-be-in-immigration-lockup-during-a-pandemic 

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