Letters to the Editor

Readers write about Mexico's role in illegal immigration, the need for politicians to listen to their constituents, protecting rain-forest ecosystems, and ethanol as an alternative-energy resource.

Curbing illegal immigration in the US begins with Mexico

In response to your June 20 editorial "Mexico's hand in illegal immigration": President Felipe Calderón is to be commended for taking strong actions against the powerful drug cartels. These cartels are so powerful that average Mexicans risk their lives to cross the border for US jobs.

As agricultural attaché at the US Embassy in Mexico City, every day I saw long lines of Mexicans waiting outside the embassy to get visas to work in the US. Why? The drug cartels and their thugs extort money from Mexican workers, thus keeping them impoverished. This type of crime goes largely unreported as Mexicans fear for their lives and the lives of their family members if they don't pay criminals. If I were Mexican, I'd also risk crossing the border to keep my wages and save money for my family.

If Mr. Calderón can wring the neck of the drug cartels and bring economic security to his country, he will be a worthy candidate for the Nobel Peace Prize. I wish him well in his fight against the cartels.

Jim Patterson
San Francisco

Thank you for your editorial about Mexico's role in illegal immigration. The very same ideas in it have been brewing in my mind for the past few weeks. Your courage to point out, in effect, that Mexico is the elephant in the room that is ignored in the immigration debate is commendable.

I wish to add that the force of illegal immigration may be countered by a policy whereby US citizens may do business and have property rights in Mexico equivalent to those granted to some Mexican citizens in the US. Bring America to Mexico and prosperity will increase across the board. We in the US are importing a plantation economy when we should be exporting a free market.

Our government has many tools at its disposal, including a tax on remittances, to pressure the Mexican elites into accepting the social revolution that must occur to resolve the problem.

Joe Yull
Healdsburg, Calif.

Regarding the June 20 editorial on Mexico: Without a border, we in the United States have no country. Without a common language, we are not a nation. Yet some of us are called by our Christian sensibilities to assist these desperate migrants who leave all they know for better opportunities for themselves and their families. Our guilt lessens as we sense that as the demographics rapidly change, we become the intruder in our own land.

The corrupt societies to our south will never change as long as those with the courage to enact change leave for the US.

We need Americans to start thinking of our own progeny. We can't continue to allow population growth, especially among illegal trespassers, to crush the infrastructure of this nation. I am bilingual, not Hispanic, and admire many, if not most, of those immigrants' qualities. I even married one. But beware! English is almost gone in this area of north Texas and soon I may go, too.

Jon A. Wright
Irving, Texas

Politicians, listen to your constituents

Regarding the June 22 article, "A bid to build centrism in US politics": This whole idea of compromise is a bunch of hogwash. If politicians would represent their constituents' demands instead of special interests, there wouldn't be any talk of compromise. Of course this would require representatives to listen to those who elected them, which seems rare nowadays. Whatever the people of an elected official tell him to do, he should do it and let the chips fall where they may.

David L. Lamon
Lufkin, Texas

Protecting rain forests for the future

Thank you for the wonderful June 21 article, "The rain forest's vanishing species," about Monteverde's forests in Costa Rica. Giving it five pages of coverage shows that the Monitor realizes the huge importance of biodiversity preservation. I am president of the Monteverde Conservation League US, whose mission is "to conserve, preserve and rehabilitate tropical ecosystems," primarily with a focus in Monteverde, Costa Rica. Our reserve, the Children's Eternal Rainforest, surrounds the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve so eloquently advocated for in the article. Our current efforts are aimed at purchasing nearby degraded pasture-lands and reforesting them to create corridors for migrating species that need food and cover as they fly, hop, slink, and scurry down the Pacific slope of the Tilaran Mountains.

El Bosque Eterno de los Niños ("Children's Eternal Rainforest" in Spanish) was initiated by young school-children in Sweden in 1987 who worried about the fate of the tropical rain forests they were studying about in school. Their desire to help led them to think of projects to raise money for the Monteverde Conservation League in Costa Rica. Before long, children in 44 countries were sending their donations for land purchase. Today, we are the largest private reserve in Central America at 54,000 hectares. The need to protect more habitat has never been greater as global warming, farming, mining, timbering, and dams have all caused massive deforestation in the tropics. Our website is www.mclus.org.

Rachel Crandell
President, Monteverde Conservation League US
Chesterfield, Mo.

What if ethanol isn't the right alternative-energy choice?

Regarding the June 21 article, "Mexican farmers replace tequila plant with corn": The ongoing coverage of how ethanol has affected the economy of Mexico is a case study in the unforeseen consequences of government policies. Who ever suspected that endorsing this particular biofuel would jeopardize the "50 million poor Mexicans who depend on tortillas for the majority of their daily caloric intake"?

The real question is what if we are wrong? What if ethanol is not the answer to the alternative-fuel question? What have we done then? We have disrupted lives, used scarce and expensive goods to make factories, and, as the article points out with the example of the agave plant, diverted agriculture from regionally well-established and diverse crops, to cash crops for America.

All I am asking is that we consider the greater effects of our desire for alternative fuels and not put all our eggs in one basket.

Rachel T. Davison
Washington

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Because of the volume of mail we receive, 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. Any letter accepted may appear in print or on our website, www.csmonitor.com.

Mail letters to Readers Write and opinion articles to Opinion Page, One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115, or fax to (617) 450-2317, or send e-mail to OpEd.

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