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Importing Mexican workers did cut illegal migration

Regarding your article "A new plan to legalize illegal workers from Mexico" (Jan. 23): The article referred to the bracero program, which started in the 1940s, and indicated that it was a failure.

I joined the US Border Patrol in 1955 and am quite familiar with the program. Workers were brought in from Mexico and housed in labor camps, where farmers would pick them up each morning and return them every evening. There were very few illegal aliens entering the country during the period this program was in effect.

One of the reasons it was effective was that the farmers were informed that if the Border Patrol found any illegal aliens working with the braceros, the farmer would lose not only the illegal aliens but also the braceros. The program was terminated because of pressure from the labor unions.

But in 1963, before the program was terminated, total apprehensions by the Border Patrol and INS investigators totaled about 80,000. When I retired in 1982, the Border Patrol by itself was apprehending almost 1 million illegal aliens each year. The bracero program worked very well from 1954 to 1963.

Frank D. Thurlow Vista, Calif.

Clarification on Bush's governorship

In Godfrey Sperling's Jan. 23 column "Quincy lessons" he states that President Bush was "the first person to be twice elected by the voters of that state."

Not quite.Mr. Bush is the first person to be twice elected to consecutive, four-year terms as governor. Let me offer a counterexample here for each case.John Connally was elected to two-year terms as governor in 1962, 1964, and 1966.William Clements was elected in 1978, defeated for reelection in 1982, and returned to office in 1986.

David Kuhn Rockville, Md.

Sweeping accusations need proof

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