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You Want Leprosy With That?

By Greg L | 11 June 2007 | Illegal Aliens, Manassas Park, Manassas City, Prince William County | 24 Comments

There’s been an explosion of pushcart vendors in Manassas, Manassas Park and Prince William County this year selling various foods, enough to gain the attention of Help Save Manassas which recently started an effort to ensure licensing compliance in these jurisdictions. Reports have since flooded in that these vendors are suspected of being illegal aliens and many have engaged in licensing fraud, or are operating without licenses at all. More than just being a nuisance, it appears that there may be a significant health issue involved.

WorldNetDaily has reported on some disturbing trends involving a dramatic rise in the number of once-rare diseases that appears to be related to illegal aliens in their commentary on a report by the Journal of American Physicians and Surgeons:

[Tuberculosis] had largely disappeared from America, thanks to excellent hygiene and powerful modern drugs such as isoniazid and rifampin,” says the report. “TB’s swift, deadly return now is lethal for about 60 percent of those infected because of new Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis. Until recently MDR-TB was endemic to Mexico. This Mycobacterium tuberculosis is resistant to at least two major anti-tubercular drugs. Ordinary TB usually is cured in six months with four drugs that cost about $2,000. MDR-TB takes 24 months with many expensive drugs that cost around $250,000 with toxic side effects. Each illegal with MDR-TB coughs and infects 10 to 30 people, who will not show symptoms immediately. Latent disease explodes later.

TB was virtually absent in Virginia until in 2002, when it spiked a 17 percent increase, but Prince William County, just south of Washington, D.C., had a much larger rise of 188 percent. Public health officials blamed immigrants. In 2001 the Indiana School of Medicine studied an outbreak of MDR-TB, and traced it to Mexican illegal aliens. The Queens, New York, health department attributed 81 percent of new TB cases in 2001 to immigrants. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ascribed 42 percent of all new TB cases to ‘foreign born’ people who have up to eight times higher incidences apparently, 66 percent of all TB cases coming to America originate in Mexico, the Philippines and Vietnam.”

Other health threats from illegals include, according to the report:

Because many of these vendors are not properly licensed (in Manassas it is reported that the only valid licensee is a person living in Dallas, Texas who is unlikely to be pushing an ice cream cart on Lomond Drive), there’s no screening to help prevent someone infected with one of these communicable diseases from selling food.  There may be no inspections being performed to determine whether the street peddlers are complying with health regulations.  Since there seems to be an active attempt here to circumvent licensing regulations, it doesn’t exactly inspire confidence that the person selling your children ice cream out of a pushcart is making a strong effort to protect them from disease or adulterated foods.

If you see one of these pushcarts, you may want to contact the police so they can determine whether the vendors are potentially endangering our community.  My understanding is that the Manassas Police Department and the Prince William County Police Department are taking this pretty seriously, although in the county police officers are prohibited by policy from asking these individuals whether they are illegal aliens or not, which probably is extremely relevant to determining what the public safety risks of a violation may be.  Manassas Park so far hasn’t been very interested in dealing with this, but I’m pretty sure they’ll have to pretty soon.

This is becoming a big issue, very quickly.  Parents aren’t too thrilled by the notion that their children are at risk of contracting disease-resistant tuberculosis from street vendors who are actively evading licensing regulations.

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  1. redawn said on 11 Jun 2007 at 3:26 pm:
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    I have often noticed them in front of our schools, which raises another concern. I have spotted one in fron of Yorkshire Elementary and a friend of mine noticed one in front of Baldwin Ele and Loch Lomand.

  2. Joe Budzinski said on 11 Jun 2007 at 3:35 pm:
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    Keep us posted on this effort, please.

    Our Commissioner of Revenue told me the business licensing focus is strictly a revenue-producing arm of government with no proactive enforcement mission. If you report someone they will follow up - but the focus is not to shut them down but to encourage them to pay for a license.

    This may seem like a small difference but it actually is huge. Our zoning department operates the same way - they actually send a “courtesty letter” 10 days before doing any inspection because they want the home to be in compliance voluntarily. This gives plenty of time to remove any signs of overcrowding or get everyone’s papers in order to ensure they are all “cousins.”

    Businesses (not food vendors, yet, thankfully) therefore operate with total freedom throughout Loudoun County. If an unmarked white van shows up at your neighbor’s house to replace windows or whatever, how exactly are you to report them? Even if you could trace them back to Home Depot or whoever contracted the work, the business licensing people would never get to the unlicensed subs because it is not their focus to “investigate.”

  3. John Light said on 11 Jun 2007 at 3:36 pm:
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    In DC, vendors are to have a license showing they are legal to sell food here. Also, they are to have their picture showing with name, etc. on the license so that the customer can clearly see that the person doing the selling is the one who is authorized to be the vendor.

    That being said, also look for plastic gloves. On a recent (early 2000s) business trip to Honduras, my co-worker and I noticed that in the food court of the mall that we were at, NOONE was wearing the plastic gloves. We did not take the clue until we saw the girl making the food sneeze - needless to say, we dined elsewhere.

    Might be a good idea NOT to approach the suspect vendor, rather, contact the police and, in the case of the vendor doing business in front of the schools, notify your elected officials as well.

    Good luck!!!

  4. Legal2 said on 11 Jun 2007 at 3:39 pm:
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    I understand the ice cream vendors also show up on Sundays at All Saints Catholic Church around the times of Spanish services.

  5. citizenofmanassas said on 11 Jun 2007 at 3:50 pm:
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    I like this effort. I don’t know about other neighborhoods, but where I live(Wellington) we have had a push cart guy walking our streets last year and this year(though I have not seen him in a about a week, so maybe he was busted) and not so surprising during the same time frame, we have seen an increase in litter. Most of the litter are ice cream wrappers, the language of course on the wrapper is Spanish. So, I guess it does not take much of a leap to figure out who is littering.

    We also have a truck come through, but he mostly sells soft serve ice cream cones.

  6. Advocator said on 11 Jun 2007 at 4:23 pm:
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    I assume the same concerns apply to the ice-cream trucks that ply the neighborhoods and swimming pools during the summer? Although the products are commercially packaged and frozen, there’s no telling how often they’ve been thawed and re-frozen.

    Anyone have any info on them?

  7. Batson D. Belfrey said on 11 Jun 2007 at 4:55 pm:
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    Can I have a vanilla/choclate swirl, with malaria sauce and leprosy sprinkles?

    The concern is whether or not the person actually selling the product is the actual licensee, or is listed on the license. This is a public health issue, as much as it is an immigration issue. If these people had gone through the legal process required to enter this country, there would be fewer health concerns, as they would have been required to show immunization records at the time they requested their visa. Additionally, does the health department regularly inspect these carts, as a condition to remaining licensed

    Another concern is the criminal backgrounds of these individuals. Since they are marketing to kids, prowling neighborhoods, unlicensed cart vendors could be pedophiles, or other criminals. Licensed people would have had a background check.

    Thanks to HSM for taking the lead on this.

  8. Cut the Hype said on 11 Jun 2007 at 4:59 pm:
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    Madeleine Cosman, the author of the JAPS article, is a notorious racist, and her credibility in the medical community is zero.

    The 7,000 leprosy cases claim has been thoroughly debunked. Lou Dobbs even retracted (after much criticism), and apologized for using Cosman as a source.

  9. Batson D. Belfrey said on 11 Jun 2007 at 5:16 pm:
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    “Madeleine Cosman, the author of the JAPS article, is a notorious racist, and her credibility in the medical community is zero.”

    So says you.

    The report is published in a reputable medical journal, and has undergone peer review. Also, this isn’t the first report that has demonstrated the same trends. I suppose those were put together by racists too?

    Why don’t you carry your open-borders, criminal-aiding self down to the BRUU, where they will believe your liberal clap-trap. In other words, go peddle your marxist one-world philosophy elsewhere, but if you are doing it from a pushcart, make sure you have a license.

  10. anon said on 11 Jun 2007 at 6:54 pm:
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    I wanted to check this out in regard to Dobbs, so here’s what he said on 5/31/07:

    “Dobbs: An answer for my critics
    POSTED: 10:15 a.m. EDT, May 31, 2007
    By Lou Dobbs

    This commentary was first broadcast on “Lou Dobbs Tonight”

    NEW YORK (CNN) — I’ve been, over the years, because of our reporting on controversial issues and my strongly held beliefs on those issues, attacked, and usually pretty vigorously, by both the left wing and the right wing of this nation’s media, both mainstream and otherwise, and of course the politicians that form the extremes of our political spectrum.

    As a matter of fact, I’m regularly attacked by the right wing — the biggest business lobbyists in the country, The Wall Street Journal editorial page, the Bush administration — for my criticism of so-called free trade policies and outsourcing.

    I’m regularly attacked by the left wing as well — the Southern Poverty Law Center, The New York Times, The Nation, MALDEF and MEChA — for my opposition to illegal immigration.

    Today, The New York Times published a column that picks up where an advertisement — a paid advertisement in The Times, paid for by the Southern Poverty Law Center — left off two weeks ago.

    Today’s New York Times column is primarily a personal attack on me, focusing on an ad-lib on the set of this broadcast uttered more than two years ago by Christine Romans on the number of cases of leprosy in this country — an unscripted ad-lib, not a report by the way. We’d never done a report on leprosy until we had to set this record straight a couple of weeks ago. That’s over four and a half years of reporting on that issue.

    The second issue, accusing us of overstating the number of non-citizens in our federal prisons. That number reported on this broadcast three-and-a-half years ago.

    Now, no one hates making a mistake, I assure you, more than I do. And on this broadcast, we do make mistakes — not often, mind you — but certainly enough to frustrate me mightily, and with barely tolerable frequency.

    But today’s scurrilous personal attack from The New York Times columnist David Leonhardt, carrying the water of the Southern Poverty Law Center, also has the facts wrong.

    He wrote that I said that “One third of the inmates in the federal prison system are illegal immigrants.” That isn’t what I said. I didn’t say anything close to it.

    We reported that one-third of the federal prison population three and a half years ago were “non-citizens.” The columnist said the number was 6 percent. The exact number of the year in question was 29.3 percent for fiscal year 2001. And by the way, we’re putting up links on our Web site, loudobbs.com, so you can check the numbers for yourself.

    I introduced that report three and a half years ago by saying the number of illegal immigrants in our prisons was increasing and the financial burden rising. Well, we had to go back and check, and because our correspondent no longer has his notes to support that statement, that the number of illegal immigrants within a prison population of non-citizens, I have to retract it here tonight, and I apologize to you for the necessity of doing so. But like I said, I do make mistakes.

    Let’s look at a few other issues, however, raised by The New York Times, including that columnist’s statement that none of the enemies of the middle class, he said I said, “play a bigger role than illegal immigrants.”

    Well, again, that’s just not true. I’ve made perfectly clear over the years that corporate power, expressed by lobbyists spending billions of dollars each year in Washington to influence both political parties and public policy, represents the greatest single threat to this nation’s middle class.

    That columnist also said I gave air time to white supremacists, and mentions one by name: Madeleine Cosman, who wrote the article that Christine Romans used as a source for her later leprosy statement.

    The fact is, I made a mistake, and I’ve said we would never have used her as a source if we had known of her controversial background two years ago, at the time of the offending ad-lib. But the columnist fails to note that his own paper wrote a glowing obituary of Madeleine Cosman when she died last year.

    And the columnist writes that I suggested that new immigration reform bill would be the first step to a North American union. Nope. What I did say is that the proposed legislation, favored by President Bush and Senator Kennedy and others who are misguided, contains language in Section 413 that, if approved by Congress, would endorse and legitimize the Security and Prosperity Partnership of North America, which is the foundation of this administration’s efforts to create a North American union, and which would further threaten, in my opinion, our national sovereignty.

    Well, as I said tonight at the outset, I don’t like personal attacks from both the left and the right wings, but I’m getting kind of used to it. I will assure you that we’ll continue to report on the nonpartisan independent reality that is too often overwhelmed by the ideologues in our national media, the left wing and the right wing.

    And I’ll guarantee you this: Those attacks from the left and the right will continue. They perhaps may get even a little more energetic. And as long as they continue to do so, you and I can rest assured that we’re doing more right than wrong on this broadcast.”

  11. AWCheney said on 11 Jun 2007 at 7:01 pm:
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    Haven’t you noticed, Batson, the spin meisters have decided to simply say something is a lie or someone is rascist or whatever they want to present as fact, whether fact or not, because there are people who actually believe them without looking into it. The theory is, if you repeat a lie often enough people will actually start to believe it.

  12. AWCheney said on 11 Jun 2007 at 7:16 pm:
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    I don’t know if anyone remembers the incident in Prince Georges County, MD some number of years ago, where a sudden outbreak of Hepatiis B occurred, bordering on an epidemic. When investigated, there was only one thing that all of these people had in common…a specific McDonalds. When the employees were tested, it was discovered that the salad prep person was the “typhoid Mary”…and she was an illigal alien.

    This health issue is a very legitimate concern, particularly since such a large percentage of these illegal aliens go into food service. As Greg pointed out, legal aliens must provide a health certificate as part of the immigration process…there’s a REALLY GOOD reason for that.

  13. Anonymous said on 11 Jun 2007 at 8:15 pm:
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    I would think everyone would understand from last week’s (was it last week?) news story on the lawyer from Georgia and his escapes that the government fails to take public health seriously at all, whether you are a citizen or here illegally. The pandemic flu, if it every arrives/evolves, will kill millions here in the States because the government response will be late and inadequate.

  14. James Young said on 11 Jun 2007 at 9:47 pm:
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    Now THAT’s a provocative title. Biblical, even.

  15. Greg L said on 11 Jun 2007 at 9:51 pm:
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    Thanks. I figured it was a little more catchy than talking about french fries.

  16. Patty said on 12 Jun 2007 at 9:12 am:
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    Yes, it is true because of illegal aliens living in Prince William County there is a concern for TB. My daugther’s pediatrician tested her for TB a couple of years ago because of where we live, Prince William County. It is sad.

  17. Anonymous said on 12 Jun 2007 at 10:35 am:
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    Avast ye mateys, I believe we’re headed for a new epidemic of Scurvy soon, too!!!

  18. Batson D. Belfrey said on 12 Jun 2007 at 1:15 pm:
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    Watch out for the “Columbian Exchange II”. SInce we’ve done a good job or wiping out many nasty diseases in the US, I am sure that the exchange will be very lopsided this time.

  19. Maureen Wood said on 13 Jun 2007 at 6:32 pm:
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    citizenofmanassas -

    I have been trying to get the Licenses of two different ice cream trucks, but I am always going some where and can’t. I would think that since soft serve isn’t a packaged item they would have to have a health inspection certificate. I know that ice cream stores are subject to inspections.
    Open food items should be a big concern to everyone for the reasons Greg’s post mentioned. On top of that if the ice cream isn’t at the right temperature or the machine isn’t cleaned right you can get deathly ill.

    Everyone, please be proactive on this, CALL THE POLICE DEPARTMENT and let them handle this.

  20. anonymous said on 13 Jun 2007 at 10:32 pm:
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    Just drive down Lomond and Liberia drives on any weekday between, say, 6 to 8 pm. You’ll see these pushcart vendors.

  21. Lafayette said on 15 Jun 2007 at 6:09 pm:
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    I’ve just gotten done calling PWCPD. Not once, but twice. The first time an officer went down my street, they were gone from my block. I called the police a second time to report 3 pushcarts at the corner of King George and Woodstock. The dispatcher said they’d already come once, and found nothing on my block. I explained to the dispatcher, that they are walking and they are more than likely on a different block. They said. an officer was the way to my house to talk to me. I said, in the meantime, I’ll have my mother go drive through our part of Westgate, and let me know where they were. That way, I could tell the police where to find them. PWCPD arrived. The officer said he stopped two of them on his way to my house, and that they both were, in fact, licensed, and he would look for the other. I’m guessing, the others were illegal aliens, and could not obtain licenses. I have to say that there are fewer on the streets of Westgate than at this time last week. The officer that responded was great. He said he wished they were able to better protect the citizens from illegal aliens in our community. When he spoke of his fellow officer, Mr. Jackson Miller, I knew this officer was on our side. The officer encouraged me to call when I see illegal activity. It is my hope, that the good tax paying legal citizens, call the County for zoning, pushcarts, dead tags etc. Maybe, with enough calls from concerned citizens, the sheer volume of calls will force the Chief to take action. I encourage anyone who shares my concerns to do the same.

  22. justice said on 19 Jun 2007 at 12:10 pm:
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    Lafayette, thank you for getting involved as you did. We must rid our community of illegal aliens.

  23. Anonymous said on 21 Jun 2007 at 7:39 pm:
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    I have noticed a regular influx of pushcart vendors in City Parks. I am opposed to anyone using City property for personal financial gain. I am especially opposed to vendors roaming freely through Stonewall Park in competition with the City’s only public swimming pool, Stonewall Park Pool

  24. disgusted LEGAL citizen said on 4 Jul 2007 at 2:12 pm:
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    Let’s learn from another communty’s experience and stop setting ourselves up for more problems….


    9:43 a.m. April 2, 2007

    GARDENA, CA – Pushcart vendors are getting the boot.

    A law taking effect April 28 makes it illegal to push vending carts in Gardena. The City Council approved the ordinance last week.

    “They don’t have health permits. They use the public right of way to sell items. They contribute to trash in the area. They dump their stuff in the sewers,” Deputy Police Chief Edward Medrano said.
    The vendors peddle ice cream, tamales, cut fruit, corn and other items.

    Licensed vendors were allowed in the past, but police officers often found many of them didn’t bother to get licenses. Lt. Mike Saffell said about 31 unlicensed street vendors have been cited in the past two years.

    The new law bans pushcart vendors – licensed and unlicensed.

    “We still have licensed food-vendor trucks that go to work sites, etc. But those are regulated by the city and state,” Medrano said.

    Tasha Cerda, president of the Holly Park Homeowners Association, said the pushcarts should have been banned years ago.

    “It’s a long time coming,” Cerda said. “Peddlers are coming up and down the cul-de-sac. Our homes are worth $500,000 here. We’re spending too much money for our homes to have to see something like this.

    “And what happens if you get sick? I can’t track the vendor down.”

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