Your June 26 article "Keeping Mexican migrants safer" revealed how little the Beta Groups [a special Mexican border police corps to protect migrants and inform them of the dangers they face] do to dissuade Mexicans from entering the US illegally. In truth, the Beta Groups are mere window dressing because illegal immigration is an integral and vital component of the Mexican economy. They aren't about to send anyone back.
The $6 billion in remittances sent home from Mexican migrants are the country's third-highest source of income and help keep the corrupt ruling party in charge. Remittances require no expenditures by government for infrastructure, education, or employment. The worse Mexican elites run their country, the better this scam works.
Presidential candidate Vincente Fox shamelessly declared on PBS's "Newshour" in March that they were training gardeners in his home state of Guanajuato to come to the US. His statement demonstrates that illegal immigration is Mexican state policy. Even worse is how our own government accepts such venality as the globalized way of doing business. This dysfunctional relationship keeps Mexico a pathetic banana republic - not to mention the multitude of harmful effects that illegal immigration has on this country.
Brenda Walker Berkeley, Calif.
More press for Ralph Nader
The major news networks continue to squelch the enthusiastic grassroots voice of the Green Party. Sunday evening I heard the very motivating acceptance speech by presidential candidate Ralph Nader on C-Span. However, when I attempted to find any coverage of it on the network morning news programs the next day, it did not even earn a 30-second slot in their news summary.
But as I headed to the back door to grab my paper, I found the story on your front page, where it should be ("More than just Birkenstock set backs Nader," June 26). Without more fair media coverage, millions of Americans who do not seek out unbiased reporting like The Christian Science Monitor or C-Span may not realize they have a presidential candidate available that allows them to vote their conscience. Ralph Nader is just such a man, and his voice should be heard.
Rini Kilcoyne Worcester, Mass.
Regarding "More than just Birkenstock set backs Nader" June 26: While Ralph Nader may relish the idea of a Bush presidency serving as "a four-year cold shower for Democrats," he should consider the impact of such a presidency on the US Supreme Court.That will likely prove to be a much longer - and colder - shower than Mr. Nader has bargained for.
Diane M. Lebel West Boylston, Mass.
Benefits of peace studies
James Matlack's reminder of the tragedy of the Vietnam War also reminds us of one good thing that grew out of it ("A graduate's postscript," June 21).
I refer to peace studies, peace research, and peace education in general that has grown at all levels of our educational system. Conflict resolution, nonviolence training, human rights, and environmental concerns are some of the offerings in the more than 500 peace studies programs now being offered in universities around the world.
And the Rotary International Foundation has designated seven universities in five countries as centers for training some 70 leaders in world affairs for a better understanding of paths to peace. Compared to the centuries mankind has invested in learning about war, it's time that we turn to learning about peace.
Theodore Herman Cornwall, Penn. Balkan Peace Studies Center
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