An open US-Mexico border opens many questions

It's regrettable that Sean Randolph's Dec. 6 opinion piece, "Open US doors to Mexican immigrants," continues the myth that immigrants do jobs that Americans don't want.

The reality is that when immigrants flood a labor market, wages are depressed and Americans can no longer survive working in those occupations.

When meat-packing in the Midwest was still unionized just a couple of decades ago, those physically unpleasant jobs were much desired because they provided blue-collar people with a middle-class life. Now those nonunion jobs pay a fraction of the former wage scale to a largely immigrant workforce, and working conditions are more hazardous.

Business encourages the "work Americans won't do" mythology, because it convinces Congress to keep immigration enforcement minimal, thereby increasing profits. Indeed, the list of these jobs expands all the time, and now includes gardening and construction.

This situation suits the ruling elite in Mexico perfectly - the worse they run the country, the more Mexicans leave and send dollars. President Vicente Fox has promised to improve infrastructure, but that would cost money. Demanding an open border is free.

Brenda Walker Berkeley, Calif.

President Vicente Fox's desire for an open border between the US and Mexico is a door that swings in one direction only.

While there might be reason to explore a "guest worker" proposal, I do not share Sean Randolph's beliefs that Mexicans would return home on their own. America offers a cornucopia of goodies such as better free welfare, free medical care, free education, and other amenities that our neighbor to the south does not.

If the present rates of immigration (both legal and illegal) are not reduced, our future will be at risk.

I just cannot concur with a program that will hasten a radical change of demographics.

Rosalind Ellis Baltimore

Sean Randolf states "By tightly controlling border crossings, we may be encouraging undocumented workers who would return to their homes in Mexico to stay here, inadvertently expanding the permanent population of illegal immigrants."

No US-border agent is going to stop anyone from crossing into Mexico. That's the role of the Mexican border police. Controlling our borders is only half the effort though, we also need adequate interior enforcement.

Has President Fox considered the tremendous flow of Americans into Mexico, hungry to buy up cheap Mexican real estate? Any movement toward open borders must come slowly and extremely cautiously.

Tom Sleckman San Francisco

It's hard to enjoy nature amid choppers

I can't tell you how disappointed I was with your Nov. 28 article "Rise to new heights over island splendors," which was about taking a tourist helicopter ride over Hawaii's Volcanoes National Park.

Far from applauding such adventures, I recommend that they be completely banned from our national parks. It is really disappointing to travel a great distance to visit, hike, camp, or ponder the beauty in one of our wonderful natural reserves only to be buzzed every few minutes by the racket of a helicopter.

I will agree that a helicopter ride over one of our scenic wonders is a spectacular trip. I took a ride over the Grand Canyon some years ago. But I never will again.

Wayne Mutchler Peterborough, N.H.

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Due to the volume of mail, only a selection can be published, and we can neither acknowledge nor return unpublished submissions. All submissions are subject to editing. Letters must be signed and include your mailing address and telephone number.

Mail letters to 'Readers Write,' and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway Street, Boston, MA 02115, or fax to 617-450-2317, or e-mail to oped@csps.com.

(c) Copyright 2000. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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