Lawmakers up in arms over TB incident

Oct. 19, 2007 at 10:25 AM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 19 (UPI) -- Lawmakers want the U.S. government to explain why a man infected with a highly contagious form of tuberculosis was allowed to repeatedly enter the country.

Not only did Mexican businessman Amado Isidro Armendariz Amaya cross the southern border 76 times but he also managed to take at least 11 flights involving at least one U.S. destination, The Washington Times reported Friday.

U.S. Sen. Joseph Lieberman, I-Conn., who heads the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said he is disturbed by what appears to be a lack of coordination between the Centers for Disease Control and the Department of Homeland Security.

After learning about Armendariz Amaya's tuberculosis, it took several weeks before Homeland Security warned inspectors on the border and the Transportation Security Administration.

"This troubling incident appears to be another outrageous failure of a border security system that is struggling to keep pace with modern threats," Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, told the Times.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, echoed Collins' concerns in a letter to Homeland Security chief Michael Chertoff.

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