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Dear Editor:

Only a devotee of the tooth fairy would believe that immigration policy is immune from political considerations. Yet, it is equally implausible to hold that these are the only reasons why President Bush is pushing an expansive amnesty proposal in his ongoing dialogue with Mexico. I regret that my recent column on this subject may have failed to point this out. I write today as a postscript to make the picture a more complete portrait of the President and his party. W comes from Texas and, unlike Pete Wilson in California who made immigrant bashing his ticket to re-election only to have the Republican Party be overwhelmed by the backlash, Governor Bush did not embrace a Texas version of Proposition 187. He consistenly did well among Hispanic voters and demonstrated a visceral receptivity to the need for cultivating a special relationship between Mexico and Texas, two sovereign republics linked by history, geography and language. When he moved into the White House, the President carried with him this neural appreciation for Mexico and has persisted in trying to act on it even after September 11th.

So, while we know that the President seeks to gain political capital out of the immigration issue, a desire to tell the whole story obliges me to remind myself and my readers that what the President has always believed might also count.

Gary E. Endelman