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Migrant dreams, and nightmares

AN EDITORIAL Thursday in Mexico City’s El Universal praised modest U.S.-Mexico agreements to protect migrants crossing the border illegally, and to crack down on smuggling rings. Given recent tensions, the paper says, “any sign of understanding and collaboration” is welcome.

Still, the editorial calls for a U.S. immigration law that recognizes “once and for all” the importance of immigrants to America’s prosperity. It sourly notes that President Bush promised as much when he first took office, but then it goes too far in claiming that his administration tolerates “xenophobic and racist groups” that “hunt” immigrants. Presumably the paper didn’t report that Bush, unlike Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, disapprovingly called the Minutemen “vigilantes.”

Some migrants trying to reach the U.S. illegally have a longer way to go, and last week a crowded vessel capsized off Colombia’s Pacific coast. Smugglers had crammed more than 100 Ecuadoreans on a fishing boat meant to accommodate 10, and most of them are now presumed dead. An editorial Thursday in El Comercio of Quito says this tragedy is a blow to all of Ecuadorean society, revealing a nation “losing a sense of its own future” to the “diffuse illusion of better times and places.”

Madrid’s El Pais editorialized Thursday about the fate of one Brazilian immigrant in London, Jean Charles de Menezes, shot dead last month by jittery police on the lookout for more terrorist attacks. Reacting to news that circumstances were not as previously reported, the Spanish newspaper argues that in such cases, public opinion can forgive errors and even incompetence, but not being deceived.

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Andres Martinez


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