YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Immigrants' Social Effects

March 20, 2004

The truth about Mexicans in America really lies somewhere between the scathing portrayal by Harvard professor Samuel Huntington and the glowing portrayal by Carlos Fuentes in "Wrongheaded Assault on a 'Brown Peril' " (Commentary, March 14). I don't think the most anti-immigrant individuals among us would disagree that Mexicans are some of the hardest-working people in our society. The Mexicans also, for the most part, have a deep sense of family values and responsibility. This fact cannot be refuted. It is something that the likes of Huntington have to admit to.

Having said that, however, even the most pro-immigrant individuals among us cannot disagree that young Latino males commit crimes at a higher rate than their percentage of the population. This is borne out by data and cannot be refuted. In addition, clearly Latinos are having far more children than any other ethnic group in America, often straining the social services systems to a breaking point.

These are issues the Latino community and Fuentes have to address, rather than using the "racist" label against anyone daring to bring them up. Until we decide to deal with issues on an adult level, we'll keep getting the opposite reactions of Huntington and Fuentes and nothing will ever be solved.

James Westfield



According to your March 11 editorial, Huntington's warnings about the American future under the onslaught of Mexican immigration are "utterly unconvincing." Oh? Have you actually looked around? Experiment with your radio, for example. Several nights ago, I found that 20 out of 52 AM and FM stations I received were in foreign languages, mostly Spanish. And that number is growing (e.g., the recent switch-over at KPLS). But The Times evidently thinks Mexicans are assimilating.

Or consider statements by prominent Latino politicians, such as state Democratic Party Chairman Art Torres, who said a few years back: "Remember, [Proposition] 187 is the last gasp of white America in California." Instead of recognizing the Mexican reconquista for what it is, The Times celebrates its spread to states in the heartland.

Huntington has it right. Anglo-Protestant values enabled Americans to create a vibrant and productive society. Our resulting wealth attracts people from less-successful societies in massive numbers who are en route to destroying what they came here looking for.

Paul Nachman

Redondo Beach


In the last few weeks, The Times' readers have heard a great deal about an article published in a scholarly journal with a readership that is a tiny fraction of The Times'. Among others, a professor from Illinois, a Mexican novelist, a scholar at a liberal think tank and an anonymous member of The Times' editorial staff have told readers about what they believe are the errors, prejudices and, in their opinions, thinly veiled racism to be found in "The Hispanic Challenge," by Huntington, which appears in the current issue of Foreign Policy magazine.

Our country needs an informed, reasoned dialogue about immigration. What it doesn't need is a monologue that seeks to marginalize those with differing views by labeling them as racists.

Those interested in evaluating Huntington's arguments for themselves and drawing their own conclusions can find the article on the Internet at

Douglas Borsom


Los Angeles Times Articles