Drug interdiction a failure

    "Welcome to the Heartland - of Drug Traffic" (Dec. 14 Nation/World) reinforces harmful stereotypes about Mexican immigrants without shedding light on the complex problem of teen-age drug use.  The Mexican border has been increasingly militarized in recent years, while the drug problem has deepened.
    Building an impenetrable wall between Mexico and the United States is a bad idea for many reasons.  First, it is impossible.  No U.S. drug enforcement has been in the least bit effective in keeping out drugs on any frontier, and most of all not on the Mexican border.  Second, the long-standing border interchange continues to benefit the people of the United States.  Third, militarizing our border steals resources that are badly needed elsewhere.
    Drug use among American teens grows out of a climate of despair, as ever fewer young people contemplate a happy future.  Many young people have little hope of ever having jobs that pay above poverty wages.  Drug use thrives where there is no hope.
    Our long-range interest is in strength and stability in Mexico, but our national policies have contributed to poverty and hopelessness there.  Restructuring of the Mexican economy done in large part to meet U.S. government demands, has ruptured the social contract between the Mexican government and the Mexican people.
    The vast majority of U.S. citizens have nothing to gain and much to lose with the growing instability in Mexico.  Increased drug traffic is part of the fallout.  Policies of our own government have exacerbated drug problems.

-- Deborah Fink,
222 S. Russell, Ames.

The Des Moines Register
Sunday, December 21, 1997, Page 7AA.