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Dear Editor:

In a letter which appeared in this column on 2/28/02, Mr. Richard E. Baer accurately quotes me (in part) as saying that most "undocumented" Mexicans "...are honest hard working people who are coming here to make a decent living, which they apparently can't do in Mexico." (I probably should have used "decent" instead of "honest"). Taking the quote out of context, Mr. Baer used it to bolster his argument that these "undocumented" Mexicans are here to "join" our society. As a retired Border Patrol Agent and a present union representative, I don't believe that many of them are coming here to "join" us. They're here to get a job. For most of them, their homes and their hearts will always be in Mexico. It's incorrect to imply that they all want to stay here and become "Americans."

Mr. Baer also wrote that "There are no terrorists in this group." That's around 4 million people we're talking about; I doubt that he knows them all.

Mr. Baer says he's trying to "present possible solutions," but his words seem to say that the only possible solution is amnesty ("adjustment of status," "regularization," or call it what you will). There are many millions of us who disagree.

He then compares efforts to round up and deport "undocumented immigrants" to "ethnic cleansing." Aside from being a tad shrill, it's not accurate. Aliens who have ties (equity) here have several avenues of relief available to them, if they can show such ties. As a Border Patrol Agent, I couldn't arrest an alien who had equity in the US and who was not "likely to abscond." A file was created on them, and a determination was made later as to whether they should be removed from the US. Most of them, though, had no such ties and were granted "voluntary departure".

In 1986 there was an amnesty which was supposed to give us a clean slate to work on to handle our immigration problems. Since that time, the number of "undocumented" aliens in this country has risen to 8-11 million, depending on whose figures you use. Even if we were to grant another amnesty, it wouldn't solve the problem of illegal immigration. The only thing that might work is if the law, which is still on the books, relating to employer sanctions was enforced. (It's still a crime to knowingly employ an "undocumented" alien.) Unfortunately, there are any number of groups that don't want to see that happen. Often their motives have little to do with what's best for the US.

Meanwhile, the population of this country is headed for 400 million around the year 2050. Have those who favor massive or uncontrolled immigration thought about what the country will be like then?

John H. Frecker
Baileyville, ME