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Know the West

Open your mind to Mexico

  Dear HCN,

Let me calm down a minute here before trying to respond to Denver's Wayne Schnell. His bigotry in the July 3 issue deserves some comment and analysis.

First, Mr. Schnell, if you want Mexican nationals to stop coming to the U.S., stop hiring them to do the work you disdain or find some legal way to employ them. Simple as that. No demand, no supply, just like everything else.

Your statistics are impressive but meaningless unless compared to others. You'll probably find, for example, that the small percentage of people holding the vast proportion of wealth in Mexico is not that far from the United States. Mexico has been working hard to lower its birthrate, with considerable success now that birth control and family planning are legal and stressed by the government. When I first began visiting Mexico 44 years ago, contraceptives were illegal, but the families I know certainly do not have 10 children. The annual rate of natural population increase is around 2 percent; that of the U.S. is less than 1 percent.

"Norte Americano," by the way, is you, a person, not a place.

The outcome of the recent elections in Mexico show that the people of Mexico are totally fed up with the 71-year dictatorship of the PRI, and more than anything they want change, not unlike their neighbors to the north. The PAN president-elect is business-oriented, church-oriented, and less friendly toward family planning, so it will be interesting to see just which way and how far the pendulum swings. You undoubtedly know that one result of the 1910 revolution was the strict curtailment of the power of the Church, stripping it of all land holdings and until just a few years ago forbidding even the wearing of clerical garb outside the walls of the church itself. Still, as you rightly observe, Catholicism is the dominant religion of Mexico, as it is in Italy, Spain, Portugal and other countries. Italy, Spain and Portugal, by the way, have a natural growth rate less than that of the U.S.

We who live along the Mexico-U.S. border have to deal on a daily basis with the workers you employ and are just as desirous of an equitable solution as you are, perhaps more so. But most of us are sympathetic to the desperate needs of our hard-working friends from Mexico. The majority of them want to make money here and go home, and we would like to see some legal way of permitting them to do so. Instead of railing against the horrors of the Brown Flood that threatens your comfortable, white, Protestant world, investigate the causes and work toward solutions. Take a look at the effects of NAFTA, for example, if you can find an honest evaluation in the corporate media. Examine the laws that restrict hiring, stare long and hard at our immigration policies, check out the actions of the Border Patrol. Fifty immigrants, including women and children, have died this fiscal year while trying to outflank the green uniforms. Find out what the WTO and the IMF have done to natural resources in Mexico.

In short, open your mind and try to understand the reasons for this perceived threat. And get to know the people of Mexico. They are wonderful.

Nicholas J. Bleser
Tumacacori, Arizona