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Commentary | LETTERS TO THE TIMES

Corporate Coyotes at the Border

September 04, 2004

Steve Lopez's column, "A Modest Proposal on Border Crossing" (Aug. 29) really hits the nail on the head. Although much is written about kitchen labor, hotel maids, field workers and clothing factory slaves, only occasionally is there an article devoted to the larger corporations, meat and poultry processors and huge agricultural concerns that have agents at the border who assist successful crossers in finding their way to the companies' facilities. These are just a few of the companies and people who should be prosecuted and should have their products boycotted by people of conscience. As long as the government ignores such practices and jobs, even thankless ones, there will be no end to our migrant problem. The poor of Central and South America will continue to brave the horrors of desert heat, border patrols, fences and the cruel and greedy who take advantage of their helplessness.

Eleanor Jackson

Palm Springs

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Lopez's proposal on border crossings is a good one, but a more peaceful alternative might be to have the U.S. simply buy Mexico and make it our 51st state. This would solve three problems: One, those living in Mexico would be inclined to stay in Mexico and, as a state, it could attract businesses with the usual tax breaks, etc., and raise the standard of living. Two, this would alleviate the strain on the borders and allow the U.S. immigration service to concentrate on more dangerous homeland security problems. And, this would help solve the Social Security deficit.

Mexico has a large younger population, and its contributions to the Social Security fund would help the baby boomers into their dotage. Of course, after years of prosperity, Mexico might decide to secede from the Union. But what the heck, sometimes you have to take a chance.

Patrick O'Brien

San Juan Capistrano

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I have just read Lopez's column, "Handouts? Go Beyond the Usual Scapegoats," Aug. 27, in which he argues that he cannot find anyone who can prove to him that the costs of illegal immigration outweigh the benefits.

Should Lopez or a member of his family need emergency medical or trauma care in Southern California, the costs will become immediately clear. Emergency trauma centers are being forced to close due to the burden of illegal immigrants who pack the waiting rooms with nonemergency illnesses, and then cannot -- or won't -- pay for their medical service.

Orlando Herrera

Encino

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