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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Migratory Labor Has Helped Mexico and U.S.

August 10, 2003

Re Mexican migratory labor, the U.S. and Mexico have had it both ways for a long time ("Mexican ID a Veiled Bid for Amnesty," Commentary, Aug. 6). Mexico has availed itself of its neighbor's superior economy while evading responsibility for strengthening its own; whole sectors of the U.S. economy depend on this labor influx to keep wage costs down as government largely ignores the legal status of these immigrants.

Edward J. Erler and Scot J. Zentner's concerns about security and the potential for abuse in the matricula consular program are well founded. Mexico must strengthen the program to preclude criminal and terrorist activity. Their assertion of a veiled bid for amnesty is correct. They err, however, by implying that the U.S. should not pursue amnesty for undocumented Mexicans in this country. Long have the societies, economies and cultures of both countries intertwined and intersected.

Gus Gonzales

Austin, Texas

Erler and Zentner's column has ignored the great benefit of amnesty that the matricula consular does not provide, i.e., the ability to legally work in the U.S. and to travel out of the U.S. and return legally.

Harvey Mechanic

Los Angeles

I wish someone would break it to Mexican President Vicente Fox that he wasn't elected to provide a better life for the Mexican people in the United States. He was elected to provide a better life for the Mexican people in Mexico. When and if he is able to do that, Mexico will finally be perceived as an adult and not as a child to be baby-sat by the U.S. The hard-working Mexican people deserve that much.

Barbara Schratwieser

Studio City

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