Wednesday, October 22, 2008

USCIS: Gardasil mandate not our decision

Today's Los Angeles Times suggests that not only was it not the decision of Citizenship and Immigration Services to mandate the HPV vaccine for all immigrant women 11-26, but they can't do anything about it:
A 1996 immigration law directs the Citizenship and Immigration Services to require that new immigrants receive inoculations that the CDC's immunization committee recommends for U.S. residents.

"It's not really a decision of ours," said immigration service spokeswoman Sharon Rummery. "We can't cherry-pick the recommendations."
In other words, it appears the culprit in this instance is not CIS, but a too-rigid requirement in the Illegal Immigration Reform and Personal Responsibility Act of 1996. That requirement might have made sense on paper, but it doesn't take account of the possibility that the CDC will recommend immunizations in a case where the public health threat doesn't justify a mandate for anyone. In fact, the CDC itself recognizes the problem, and says it simply hadn't thought about the 1996 law:

"If we had known about it, we would have said it's not a good idea," said Jon Abramson, who was chairman of the CDC's Advisory Committee for Immunization Practices when the body recommended the vaccine for U.S. citizens last year.

Looks like the solution is a common-sense modification to this federal statute - another item, hopefully, to add the very large agenda of Congressional Democrats next year.

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