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Know the West

Cut the anti-immigration rhetoric

  Dear HCN,
I am so tired of seeing these uncomplicated, sentimental appeals that place themselves on the side of pro- or anti-immigration and grace your pages with alarming regularity. I am appalled by the embedded hypocrisy that decries immigrants (read: brown-skinned) encroaching on "our" public space and representing a danger to "our wildlife" when "we" in the United States pass law after law that allow U.S. corporations to move their polluting industries to other countries (particularly Mexico) and back a World Trade Organization that ensures these countries cannot regulate the environmental and social degradation spewed by these corporations.

Please don’t allow any more historically vacuous pieces on immigration to cross the desk. Most of what is today considered "the West" was taken by the United States from Mexico, including a king’s ransom in natural resources (reference the Mexican-American War and the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo). The racist and imperialist bent of the United States government and many of its citizens took this land and this wealth from Mexico, ensuring that Mexico would never become a global power.

As for the question of overpopulation, this cannot even begin to be addressed without taking into account the unequal impact on natural resources by individuals. Given that your average red-blooded "American" youngster will use in several years of his or her life resources equivalent to those which are consumed by entire villages of people over decades, I don’t think most Americans are in much of a position to cast stones.

Too many Americans want all of the benefits of a global economy and a global culture without any of the ensuing responsibilities. The history of the Mexican-American border is long, complicated and filled with contradiction and injustice. Editorial pieces and letters that ignore this history and writers who imagine that an impermeable line can and should demarcate the borders of the United States need to educate themselves a great deal. An excellent place to begin is "It’s Your Misfortune and None of My Own": A New History of the American West by Richard White.

Felecia Caton Garcia
Albuquerque, New Mexico