Reconciling Armed Borders and Free Trade

The article "Free Trade Could Stem Illegal Immigration," July 11, raises what I believe is one of the most important aspects of the free trade issue. I realize that we can't have the whole world move to the US without risk of our economy and even our democratic institutions being destroyed. Yet a border with chain link fences and guards is at odds with our Declaration of Independence, which holds it self-evident that all people are created equal.I find it hard to reconcile that I can go into Mexico and enjoy the beaches and restaurants, whereas most of the people around me are not allowed to visit my city because we fear they would not be willing to leave. Having what amounts to an armed border ultimately undermines the ideals upon which our nation is founded. Mars Burnside, Tucson, Ariz.

As a cattle rancher whose family has lived on or near the Mexico-Texas border since 1870, I say it is nonsense to claim that free trade could help stop illegal immigration. I have seen Mexico destroyed in my lifetime. Mexico might support a population of 30 million. It now has nearly 90 million. Because of Mexico's financial desperation it has no money to educate its children. It cannot build an industrial base large enough to give jobs to more than a small fraction of its workers. Governmental corruption is endemic and cannot be controlled, much less eradicated. Mexico cannot produce enough food to feed its present population, much less the millions to come. It has no mone y to pay for imported food. The only hope for tens of millions of Mexicans is to come to the US. It is the pipe dreamers who say Mexico can be made so prosperous that its citizens will not wish to emigrate. That is like hoping that Brownsville will be like Beverly Hills. Robert Wheeler, Tilden, Texas

Population and African famine Regarding the opinion-page column "Move Past 'Donor Fatigue' on Africa Famine," July 16: While the author notes a variety of proposed actions to reduce and perhaps prevent future famines in the Horn of Africa, I am surprised he does not identify the exploding human populations as one of the causes, and very possibly the fundamental underlying cause, of recurring famines in Sudan, Ethiopia, and Somalia. Without addressing the problem of population explosion, all of the other proposed remedies will be of little avail. In fact, the identified causes of famine may be exacerbated if human population increases are not addressed. These three nations will almost triple their combined population of 80 million to 216.5 million by 2030. Such explosive population growth rates must be reduced if there is to be any hope of future famines being averted. A population program is the fundamental component in any remedy. G. Lloyd, Southwest Harbor, Maine

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