Compassion for migrants: What I liked about your story "Postcards From the Edge" (Jimmy Magahern, October 20) was that you didn't demonize U.S. citizens who are opposed to illegal immigration.
The article was a thoughtful look at the immigration saga through the eyes of young people right out of college. And it was interesting that they came to the conclusion that there were good and bad people on both sides of the issue.
I enjoyed reading that these kids had started out thinking that Congressman J.D. Hayworth and U.S. Senator Jon Kyl were all evil, but came away thinking that they weren't so bad after all. At least, in the end, they were willing to consider points of view they had originally strongly disagreed with.
This was one of the most poignant articles I've read on immigration because even I -- as a rabid anti-immigrationist -- learned something. I actually felt compassion for migrants that I had never felt before. I finally came to realize that they are acting out of desperation, that they would truly like nothing better than to stay in their own country, but many of them can't because their families would starve.
For me, this is real progress. But am I in favor of illegal aliens being allowed to run amok in America? No! While I sympathize, we cannot afford to let the problems in Mexico become our problems. I wish that illegal immigrants could be treated humanely, but I don't want them coming here and taking the jobs of Americans. And I don't want people who don't pay taxes clogging our health-care system and schools.
Anyway, good job writing a story on this issue that was truly unique.
Ann James, Phoenix
Out-Foxed: When I saw the picture of those illegal aliens laughing on the cover of your publication, it made me sick. And isn't it typical of Phoenix New Times, always an ultra-liberal paper, to take such glee in letting them laugh at our country.
Your story "Postcards From the Edge" was no better than the pictures that fronted it. It made it seem that these people, who are actually robbing us of jobs and costing us tax dollars, have a right to do what they do.
Why is it that nobody in the media -- outside Fox News, maybe -- will tell the truth about the immigration problem? Why is it that papers like New Times want to spread the myth that these people are somehow noble peasants?
Come on, New Times, try telling the truth about the Mexicans among us for a change. Stop acting like Michael Moore.
Reginald Tucker, Phoenix
Not your usual immigrant story: When I saw the cover of your newspaper the other day -- the one with pictures of illegal immigrants on it -- I thought: "Oh, great, another boo-hoo story about poor, down-and-out illegal aliens in an alternative paper."
I couldn't have been more wrong. This was not your usual story on the plight of Mexicans trekking over the border and through the desert to Phoenix. This was not even the story of how we bad Americans exploit the poor souls when they get here by paying them shitty wages.
This was a story that actually told me something about the people who are coming over the border. It humanized them, made them seem just like the rest of us -- the only differences being that they are much poorer than the average American and much more desperate.
We sit in the comfort of our homes in places like Phoenix and wonder why in the world do they do it. Why don't they just stay in their own damn country? Well, because their own damn country is so dirt poor that they and their families think working in a fast-food restaurant in Phoenix is an economic boon.
Good job on driving home what should be obvious to Americans, but seems to be lost on most of us, including officials like U.S. Representative J.D. Hayworth.
Justin Sawyer, Tucson
Brat pack: Isn't it just typical that a Paradise Valley kid and his pals would think they can tell a gripping story about poor Mexicans crossing the border to what they believe is a better life?! These so-called artists/sociologists are kids who never missed having an expensive car given to them by daddy, much less a meal.
What would have been really interesting is if these immigrants had beaten the shit out of them as they were doing their dumb little project. Now that's a story I would have enjoyed reading.
I dearly loved it that the chick involved in the project got so riled that some of the Mexican dudes were making "sexually crude" remarks to her. "Well, I never!" she all but said, hands on hips. What did she expect? How condescending to say that these guys never grow up. Didn't she understand that such remarks come with the turf when you're out there supposedly getting your hands dirty with the "common people"?
In fact, many of the statements these kids spouted in the story made it clear what rich little brats they are. The very fact that these people had the time to do such a project, instead of having to work for a living like the rest of us, makes it clear what bullshit their project is.
"Look, Mom and Dad, I hung out with real Mexicans for the summer! We spoke Spanish and everything! Now don't forget to make the payment on my Beamer!"
Victor Morrisey, via the Internet
Doing the impossible: Great article by Jimmy Magahern on the photo project along the border! That story told me more about illegal immigration than the reams of copy the Arizona Republic has written over the years. But maybe that's because the Republic is such a pitiful excuse for a big-city newspaper.
But seriously, kudos to Magahern and to New Times for pulling off what I previously thought was an impossible feat: publishing a philosophically captivating yet entertaining story on illegal immigration. I just wish you had published lots more of the pictures these kids got back from the immigrants.
Jack R. Lawson, via the Internet
A Mighty Wind
Government inaction: Your article on the continued mismanagement by our own government in regard to Katrina hurricane evacuees has shown all of us that we were foolish to think this was now under control ("Katrina's Second Wind," Jimmy Magahern, October 6).
How can anybody justify placing an evacuee at the head of any line in housing? Didn't they think about who was getting left out when they did this?
Where did the funds all of us gave for Katrina relief go? Why weren't they placed in their own housing fund instead of the fund designated for the disabled and elderly of our own state? There's no justification for this type of thoughtless action.
Both groups of people could've been taken care of if someone in government actually had to think before he or she did something. I feel bad for this poor lady who now has nowhere to go. I'm thinking, I should have donated my $100 to her.
Noell Robertson, Mesa
Close to the mark: I read Phoenix New Times every week, and I thought the articles on the evacuees from Katrina were well-written and insightful (also "Storm Troopers," Jimmy Magahern, September 22). Judging from the recent letters to the editor on the first story ("No Calm After the Storm," October 6), I think the article cuts closer to the mark than most folks will admit.
In his letter from the Birmingham jail, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote that he was most disappointed with the white middle class, because its members chose the comfort of the status quo over facing and eradicating injustice.
Keep up the great work; you're about the only honest paper in Arizona.
Brendan Griffith, Surprise