"Perhaps your cover headline should have referred to MexicUS. After all, the Mexicans are Americans, and were here first."
WILLIAM V. LOFTON
Eliminating the U.S. border with Mexico would be good for Mexicans and good for American employers who profit from cheap labor [THE NEW FRONTIER, June 11]. But what about the rest of us? If the New World economy does not produce livable wages, stable communities and good schools, what kind of nation are we building? And what kind of wealth is this? We're getting a lot of traffic, pollution, drugs and poverty. It's a heavy price to pay just to avoid mowing our own lawns and cleaning our own homes.
I have no problem with immigrants coming to America. However, they must do two things: enter legally, and learn to speak English. I want to preserve the culture of the U.S.
How soon we forget that many of our ancestors came to this country under circumstances not so different from those described in your report. Today the immigrants may arrive on foot instead of in boats, but they are seeking the same thing our forebears were: a better life. Many of the immigrants from Mexico are performing jobs that no American would even consider. Where would we be without these workers? The new immigrants are just like our grandparents and great-grandparents when they were venturing forth to find a future in America.
I am a 28-year-old Mexican immigrant from a working-class family. When we moved to El Paso 14 years ago, we had no knowledge of American culture and language or the obstacles we would face. Today I can proudly say that education has been the most valuable tool in enabling us to succeed in the U.S. As a physician, I understand the need to improve life on the border. These underdeveloped areas need more money for schools, health care and job creation--and the water necessary to survive.
JUAN R. PEREZ, M.D.
El Paso, Texas
As a legal immigrant to this country and a naturalized U.S. citizen, I do not want as fellow citizens those whose first act vis-a-vis the U.S. is to break the law.
JONAS M. GRANT
Santa Monica, Calif.
You overlooked the nonstereotypical Mexican businesspeople who are fueling the U.S. economy, as well as the Mexican-educated professionals who are making contributions to the arts, science and technology.
Can America, as noble as it may feel, afford to become the welfare state of the world? Unless we respond quickly to some very tough issues regarding our immigration policies, this is precisely what the future holds.
--Is Mexico a threat to the American way of life? A number of you thought so. Our stories on the increasing interconnections along the border drew some responses that were overheated, to say the least. "Our nation is being invaded by people from a Third World country that is too corrupt and lazy to take care of its citizens," warned a Washingtonian. "The U.S. may be the first country in history to turn itself over voluntarily to another race, language and culture," a Houston man declared. A like-minded man from Zebulon, Ga., asked, "Would somebody please check with the American people before deciding we're all going to be speaking Spanish and wearing sarapes?"
No Camelot in Nepal
The massacre of Nepal's royal family may have caused us to shake our enlightened heads at the reductio ad absurdum of a country's having three Kings in four days [WORLD, June 11], but what about our own medieval mentality that has us still going gaga over any whiff of royalty? Isn't it time both East and West stopped clinging to long outmoded values, such as inherited wealth and power, that are residual metaphors for divine right? It is time to kiss Camelot goodbye.
KATHERINE E. KREUTER
Rancho Mirage, Calif.
The act of patricide, matricide, fratricide and regicide in Nepal revealed a personal streak of sheer selfishness in the alleged assassin, Crown Prince Dipendra, as well as his utter disregard for the national interest. This tragedy illustrates the dangers of chronic indulgence by parents. Some in Nepal will not accept that such an act could be done by a son, or by a crown prince. But history and real life show that it is all too possible. Others with a penchant for conspiracy theories will not accept the certainties that come from a straightforward expose of the facts. The legacy of the Prince of Darkness will trouble Nepal in the future.
Credit for the Jeffords Affair
I don't believe Senator Tom Daschle or anyone else in the current Democratic Party leadership was smart enough to mastermind the political switch of Senator Jim Jeffords of Vermont from the Republican Party [WASHINGTON POWER SHIFT, June 4]. The reason is simple. The Democrats haven't demonstrated such savvy in the past. If they had really been on the ball, they would have gone to President Clinton and told him to clean up his act rather than put the country through the agony of impeachment. If they had achieved that, their Jeffords story would at least be credible. It's a good try, but Jeffords made a decision that just happened to help Democrats.
San Juan, Puerto Rico