Imagine this scenario. A large agricultural based conglomerate hiring non-citizens to do the work U.S. citizens won't. Right. All those "illegal" pickers that swarm across the Mexican border and fan out across the country like mosquitos over a stagnant pond.
Wrong. Try the citizens of the Marshall Islands swarming to a small town in northwestern Arkansas to work for Tyson Foods. Why? Because it's a better life than they had.
It's not that they as a people aren't welcome. It's what they've brought with them. Leprosy. Yep. The town of Springdale, a bit over 60,000 strong, has an outbreak of leprosy, not to mention 100 cases of tuberculosis.
How do these people get in? Politics mostly. In a nutshell, if approved for entry they may live, study and work in the U.S. for an unlimited amount of time.
Their "traveling companions" get a free ride and as I see it, the way panic and misunderstanding begins. The imagery of leprosy conjurs up thoughts of leper colonies. I shuddered at the thought. Then did a little research.
It seems the disease is more disfiguring than fatal. This is an extreme, untreated case. Though it can be spread, it is not done so easily and it it can be treated effectively with antibiotics. The progression can be stopped, the damage can not be undone.
It is a disease slow to develop and symptoms may not appear for up to seven years after infection, according to the Merck Manuel. So here you are. The Marshall Islands have the highest incidence of leprosy anywhere in the world. The Islanders are flocking to Springdale looking for the American dream.
All concerned are living a nightmare.