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Know the West

U.S. is to blame for immigration

  Dear HCN,
Oh, come on, Ed! Your apology for anti-immigration sentiment bespeaks loss of nerve (HCN, 2/3/03: The son of immigrants has a change of heart). That is not vintage Marston. Despair overwhelms me, too, sometimes, as our grotesque problems proliferate daily. But you know very well, or should know, that Mexican immigration is a direct result of U.S. foreign policy, NAFTA and U.S. globalization efforts.

I remember when I was a kid and the Italian moved into the decrepit house down the block with his eight or so children. Let’s call a spade a spade. His fecundity was his Roman Catholic Church’s policy. His presence was the New York Central Railroad’s demand for cheap track workers. Italians were the cheapest you could get in the 1930s and ’40s. To blame Italians, Irish, Mexicans or you name them for today’s population is to commit cultural travesty and sociological error of considerable proportions.

The U.S. government has been destroying people’s agricultural base the world over. It even targets their political efforts to remain where they are. Unable to farm or be safe from the paramilitaries, they move to the cities, where they starve further. The most energetic young come here. It is perverse to blame them for U.S. policy that deliberately marginalizes them to provide U.S. corporate agriculture with markets — policy that also just happens to produce the splendid side effect of destroying U.S. labor strength by diluting it.

It doesn’t take a seer to suggest a different policy. But as long as the present one is hugely profitable for our corporate class system, as it certainly is, immigrants will be forced to keep coming. As you say " ... other nationalities (are) unable to match their economies to their fecundity" — of course, U.S. government policies are destroying their economies.

James C. Whiteside
Danbury, Connecticut