Unneighborly system

Monday, January 12, 2004

The (Colorado Springs, Colo.) Gazette

As debate continues over the government's proposed border-crossing program, one aspect of the current policy deserves closer scrutiny: different treatment of our neighbors. ...

Guests from Canada ... are allowed to remain in the United States for up to six months without any visa. Visitors from Mexico, however, are limited to a 72-hour stay. Mexican citizens can't go more than 25 miles from the border, while Canadians are free to travel throughout the United States. ...

If homeland security were a concern, the restrictions should also apply to Canadians. After all, some of the Sept. 11 hijackers entered the United States from Canada. As far as we know, none came in from Mexico.

This treatment is based on the decades-old fear that visitors from Mexico will abuse the system.

But the current system doesn't stop those looking for work. It merely curtails tourism among Mexico's middle- and upper-class citizens and engenders ill will between the United States and Mexico.

Our system is downright unneighborly.

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