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LETTERS TO THE TIMES

U.S. Farm Subsidies and Mexican Migration

August 30, 2003

Re "Hurtful Farm Subsidies," editorial, Aug. 25: An excellent editorial on the subject of our "free market" farm subsidies and their impact upon the (mostly) agriculture-based economies of poorer regions of the world. However, you need not reference Africa and Asia; their most immediate impact is upon our neighboring country of Mexico. Thanks to the tariff reductions imposed upon Mexico under provisions of the North American Free Trade Agreement, farmers in Mexico are being forced off their ancestral lands by the direct import of U.S.-subsidized agricultural products.

One estimate made by a university researcher in Mexico and recently reported in an article printed in the Arizona Republic concludes that as many as 25 million farmers may ultimately be forced off their land in Mexico with no recourse but to cross over the border in search of work or welfare. With such numbers of likely alien immigrants, it won't be long before "natives" from Mexico will have reclaimed their mythical homeland of Aztlan in the American Southwest.

Daniel Eliason

Santa Barbara

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