Open the Borders; Legalize Drugs; Celebrate Diversity!

I appreciate the candor of Bill Cottle regarding SB 1070 and illegal immigration ("The Government Has the Technology to Seal the Border," Mailbag, June 17), in which he made the points 1) everybody already has to show a driver's license when pulled over; 2) Arizona can't employ the entire impoverished population of Mexico; and 3) he doesn't like the "distinct cultures emerging in this country: American and illegal immigrant." I'd like to respond.

1) SB 1070 allows Arizona residents to sue a law-enforcement agency if they feel that the agency restricts the enforcement of federal immigration laws. Thus, Minutemen could sue the Pima County sheriff for failing to demand the immigration papers of someone who could be "reasonably suspected" of being illegal (in other words, has brown skin). No such lawsuit is possible if Bill is pulled over, because his skin is white.

2) Migration and smuggling are powerful forces on the border, because a very large proportion of the American population votes with their dollars for cheap labor and illegal drugs. Legalize it! A market system can only lead to a just distribution of wealth when there is a free exchange across borders of goods and labor. We Americans hoard much of the world's wealth within our militarized borders, and express outrage and demand protection when the world's desperate and hungry people undergo great hardship to come for a share of it. Our puritanical prohibition laws create high-level corruption and havoc along the border.

3) The claim that the purity of American culture is being contaminated by illegal immigration is hard to justify in a nation founded and maintained by immigration. While Bill frets about two distinct cultures, I celebrate the scores of distinct subcultures which strengthen, not weaken, the American experience.

Peter Sundt


In "Poems + Music = Awesome!" (Soundbites, June 24), we reported that the Song-Poem Night at Bookmans on Grant Road was slated for Friday, June 25; it was actually scheduled for Saturday, June 26. We apologize for the error.