Treatment of Mexicans at the US-Mexico Border

I found the article "Mexico and Rights Groups Decry Violence by US Border Patrol," June 2, to be well written and informative. Yet I asked myself why the revelations portrayed therein have been so long in coming. I am originally from Texas, and for at least 40 years we have known that the 1,500-mile border between the United States and Mexico is policed by the Border Patrol.

The proximate cause of that agency's presence is largely made necessary by the pitiable plight of some ragged and not so ragged little men who are characterized in the minds of the border patrol as "wetbacks." Most of these people know that they had best take to the tules [bulrushes] if they see the chota - the Border Patrol - snooping around.

Having grown up on a ranch in Southwest Texas, I well recall that Border Patrol agents, when they went looking for wetbacks, always insisted that no agent of the federal government is ever required to have a search warrant to do anything. They even went so far as to shoot locks off gates. Yet the wets, starved as they are in Mexico and desperately in need of work, are doing Americans no harm. They help themselves and their families. They do work few others want to do. Roy A. Harrell Jr., Falls Church, Va. Congress needs women

In his otherwise excellent Opinion page article "What Congress Needs Is Real Reform," June 2, Rep. Joel Hefley [(D) of Colorado] fails to mention the most needed reform of all: more women. Women have had the vote for more than 70 years, but with only 2 percent in the Senate and less than 7 percent in the House, they need to be not only enfranchised but empowered.

With greater numbers and more clout they could make a tremendous difference, not only in fairness to more than half the electorate and the caring, nurturing concerns they excel in, but also in such common-sense matters as deficit and debt reduction. If there was ever a time for affirmative action to be applied, this is it. Louis R. Ward, Sault Ste. Marie, Mich. America's schools

The editorial "Whittle-ing American Schools," June 1, questions Benno Schmidt's motives for moving from Yale to Chris Whittle's Edison Project to create new schools.

The goal of the Edison Project is the "reinvention of American education" - a goal which is needed, and the more people engaged in the effort, the better.

Whittle's project injects another element into the competition of ideas. He won't destroy public schools; he will energize changes in public education as its administrators and faculties understand the need to become so good that students will come to public schools instead of running away from them to other schools. Niels T. Anderson, Cedar Springs, Mich. Solutions for Congress

The Opinion page article "Term Limits: Right Reform, Wrong Reasons," May 29, seems to address the symptoms rather than the causes of the difficulties that are plaguing Congress today. The answer to the problem of our congressional quagmire is to empower the electorate. To do this and to bring life back to Congress, three changes are necessary.

First, eliminate the financial clout of the various-special interest groups. This would permit legislators to pursue issues without fear of financial retribution from PACs. Second, eliminate or control the use of perquisites that give incumbents an unfair advantage over congressional hopefuls. And third, revise the "Rules of ... Proceedings" of Congress so that they more closely conform to the rules of ethics and law that govern society. David R. Schmidt, Arlington, Va.

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