To the Editor:

Although good-hearted by all means, Matthew Nickson’s article (“An afternoon at the U.S.-Mexico border,” 2/13) is by many accounts naive of Latino migration to the United States, and of the response needed to tackle the issues raised.

He explains that migration to the United States by Mexicans and, by extension, of other Latin American migrants is due to their desire to “nothing more than a descent life, a life with dignity and education for the children.”

However, if he truly “feels strongly about the plight” of his friends, then shouldn’t he be trying to tackle the heart of the problem? The problem is not migration to the United States per se, and the plight people suffer in trying to reach the ‘dream land.’

Rather, the real problem concerns the conditions that lead these people to cross this hazardous border and leave their precious homeland. If we just talk about migrants, their plight, and their integration, or not, into American society, we achieve nothing. What we should be discussing is how we can help these countries and peoples move away from their “abject poverty” and underdevelopment, and thus minimize their need to migrate.

Jonathan Reynaga

February 14, 2002

The writer is a Fox International Fellow at the Yale Center for International and Area Studies.