Wednesday, May 26, 2010

I couldn’t agree more with your editorial on Mexican President Felipe Calderon (“Go back to Mexico,” Comment & Analysis, Monday). As an American who worked for an international company, I’d like to detail some of my experiences.

Most of my Mexican counterparts, many of whom were highly educated in the United States, carried several $100 bills in their wallets or purses as stay-out-of-jail cards. The money was used regularly to deflect a hungry Federale. When I went to Mexico to work, I had to go to the Mexican Consulate and procure a visa, and I had to carry it, my passport and my company identification on me at all times.

One of my worst experiences was in Mexico City, where, while waiting for a plane to Tampico, my flight was moved to an unknown gate. To reach Tampico, I had to bribe an attendant at the airline counter. I was almost arrested because I wouldn’t move to the back of the line when I wouldn’t give the attendant the bribe. The man who almost arrested me was carrying an automatic weapon he obviously didn’t know how to operate: The safety was off and the chamber loaded. I had seen him load the magazine and chamber a round when he came on duty minutes before.

When my company shipped equipment to various sites in Mexico, we always had to call the import agent and set up a “payment” (really, a bribe). I stayed very close to one of my engineers because he was a Mexican-born, legalized American, and his knowledge of the corruption and the way it worked was invaluable.

Mr. Calderon’s heavy-handed reprimanding of the United States’ “harsh” immigration laws is the height of hypocrisy.


Ocean Springs, Miss.

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