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Dear Editor:
In response to Richard E. Baer's letter, I did not claim in my letter that Catholicism (or any religion) was a force in Mexican politics. In fact, it is the very impotence of Catholicism in dealing with Mexico's problems which was the point of my letter: despite widespread acceptance of the religion, at least on the face, the Church has not succeeded in eradicating political corruption and social inequities. It may very well have contributed to them, albeit inadvertently, by strictures against birth control which resulted in the overpopulation and poverty fueling immigration to El Norte. The Church also, based on the US example, has its own house to look to for cleaning. It is the failure of its teachings in Mexico which is leading it to push for the US to take up the slack, by bending our immigration policy to favor Mexican immigrants. Not coincidentally, this immigration is also reinvigorating in the US a Church which has been threatened by declining membership. In this, the Church is no different than any other special interest group--ethnic identity groups, labor unions, politicians seeking Hispanic votes, employers seeking cheap labor. And lest I be seen as picking on the Catholic Church, much the same can be said of other religious groups (Mormons, for example) who have been active in missionary work in Latin America and see immigration as a natural extension of their efforts and a way to build their membership here. I once asked in an immigration chat room, whether those professing "Christian values" as a basis for immigration policy would be as eager to support the immigration of large numbers of poor Muslims (whose religion is also trying to establish itself as a force in the US and globally) as they are poor Mexicans. Perhaps Dr. Baer and his supporters would be kind enough to give me an answer. The silence in response to my question in the chat room was deafening.

Ali Alexander



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