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.

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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