Importing Mexican workers did cut illegal migration

Regarding your article "A new plan to legalize illegal workers from Mexico" (Jan. 23): The article referred to the bracero program, which started in the 1940s, and indicated that it was a failure.

I joined the US Border Patrol in 1955 and am quite familiar with the program. Workers were brought in from Mexico and housed in labor camps, where farmers would pick them up each morning and return them every evening. There were very few illegal aliens entering the country during the period this program was in effect.

One of the reasons it was effective was that the farmers were informed that if the Border Patrol found any illegal aliens working with the braceros, the farmer would lose not only the illegal aliens but also the braceros. The program was terminated because of pressure from the labor unions.

But in 1963, before the program was terminated, total apprehensions by the Border Patrol and INS investigators totaled about 80,000. When I retired in 1982, the Border Patrol by itself was apprehending almost 1 million illegal aliens each year. The bracero program worked very well from 1954 to 1963.

Frank D. Thurlow Vista, Calif.

Clarification on Bush's governorship

In Godfrey Sperling's Jan. 23 column "Quincy lessons" he states that President Bush was "the first person to be twice elected by the voters of that state."

Not quite.Mr. Bush is the first person to be twice elected to consecutive, four-year terms as governor. Let me offer a counterexample here for each case.John Connally was elected to two-year terms as governor in 1962, 1964, and 1966.William Clements was elected in 1978, defeated for reelection in 1982, and returned to office in 1986.

David Kuhn Rockville, Md.

Sweeping accusations need proof

It seems reprehensible to me that Alvin S. Felzenberg in his Jan. 17 opinion piece "Bush's picks should pass" should refer to the department of the outgoing US attorney general as "damaged and compromised by eight years of scandal and mismanagement" without being more specific. How can he leave such a sweeping accusation without providing the evidence he alludes to, and which he suggests will be corrected by Senator Ashcroft's "moral compass"?

Richard Diehl Castleton, Vt.

'Y'all' is just fine in Texas

Regarding Mary Hanks's letter "Texans are friendly, but not illiterate" (Readers Write, Jan. 24): I believe Ms. Hanks has lived in Virginia a bit too long.Words like "fixin' " and "y'all" are indeed common in Texan dialect, and their use does not denote an inability to speak proper English.The use of a few colloquialisms fails, in my mind, to constitute being "half-literate."

Quite frankly, I would suggest that Hanks stop deriding the dialect of her native state, seeing rather that accents and regional phrases are not related to intelligence nor verbal ability.

Owen Courreges Houston

Cars are getting uglier

Regarding your Jan. 22 article "It's fun over function": Isn't anyone who writes about the new cars for the Monitor going to say anything about how ugly they are? It looks like the design rooms of all the manufacturers have been taken over by aliens from outer space. Especially grievous is the VW bus, once a cute, alive-looking big bug. Now it more resembles Darth Vader. I hope I never see one, and I'm a VW owner.

Roderic Knight Oberlin, Ohio

The Monitor welcomes your letters and opinion articles. Due to the volume of mail, only a selection can be published, and 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.

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(c) Copyright 2001. The Christian Science Publishing Society

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