|Dr. Elizabeth Vliet|
Dr Vliet has appeared several times on Fox News warning that the refugee children from Central America, who are fleeing to the United States to escape drug and gang violence at home, are bringing a number of dangerous infectious diseases with them. There isn't any actual proof to any of this, and there has been no outbreak of major diseases among the children detained along our border. Because she is a doctor, however, her statements are taken as fact without verification.
Last June, Vliet penned a column for The McAllen (TX) Monitor in which she claimed border kids were bringing in every disease short of Mad Cow into the country. Again, she cited no proof or examples, but instead provided a rundown of a list of terrible diseases and their effects. Her column, however, led to her TV appearances on both Hannity and Justice with Judge Jeanine, who both took anti-immigrant stances and used Vliet's statements to validate them.
Vliet's misleading statements have also been adopted by anti-immigrant activists and bloggers, who use them to justify their racist rhetoric by blaming immigrants (particularly children) for anything and everything. The website The Federalist Papers actually used Vliet's statements to blame the measles outbreak at Disneyland on illegal immigrants, even though all the evidence points to a Disneyland employee (and U.S. citizen) as the source of the outbreak.
The Gateway Pundit also used Vliet's arguments to blame the measles outbreak on illegal immigrants, stating that 72 cases of measles reported in 2011 were "imported" from other countries. While The Gateway Pundit tried to blame those cases on illegal immigrants, the source they used stated the exact opposite. The source, For The Record, could find no instance in which a case of measles could be attributed to an immigrant, legal or illegal. Of the 72 cases "imported" from other countries, 52 were caused by American citizens who brought the disease back while traveling abroad, while the remaining 20 were brought in by foreign tourists.
Vliet's campaign against immigrants isn't the first time she has ventured outside her expertise to gain a little notoriety. Besides being an expert on demonizing immigrant children, Vliet has parlayed her experience as a psychiatrist into a successful money-making venture - as a hormone health expert. Her website bills her as specializing in "preventive and climacteric medicine for women and men." She has also written at least five books on the subject, including "It's My Ovaries, Stupid," all promising answers on how to improve your health by addressing hormone imbalance.
Although she often promotes herself as an expert on various issues, some of her former patients take issue with her professionalism. On the Vitals.com website, Vliet earned a 2.5 star rating, with some patients complaining about her bedside manner, and others complaining that they couldn't speak with her on the phone unless they paid an extra fee. One patient even called her "mean and nasty," claiming one phone consultation left her in tears.
For now, however, Dr. Vliet seems content on being an expert on the issue that brings her the most attention: feeding the fear and hatred of immigrant children.