Mexicans: Criminal Infestation or a lot of Hype--Part One

Written by Doug Bower

If you have been following my columns (and if not, why not?), you know I am embarking on a series of articles, prompted by reader's comments onrepparttar "Illegal Alien" issue.

Reader's Comment Two: How could you live in a country that is so dangerous?

At first, I thought this individual was referring torepparttar 142494 United States--I am not being sarcastic. Not until I figured out he was making a commentary onrepparttar 142495 state of criminal affairs inrepparttar 142496 country to which my wife and I had expatriated could I form a cogent reply.

There is violence in Mexico. In addition, and what may surprise some of my critics, is my admission there has been some violence against and kidnappings of some Americans. That is a fact.

I had a reader quote an article by Tracey Eaton, withrepparttar 142497 Dallas Morning News, in hopes, I suppose, of supporting his claim that crime is massively rampant in Mexico. Ms. Eaton does quote some figures and then points out, and quite correctly I might add, thoughrepparttar 142498 dead include

"…university students, assembly-plant workers, farm hands, businessmen, journalists, money couriers, drug gang henchmen and dozens of police officers.[1] They ALL are thought to be linked to organized crime."

I spoke with Ms. Eaton, who agreed with me that Americans need a great deal of perspective when reading articles like this and coming to such emotively blustering conclusions that each time anyone, whether Mexican or an American expat or tourist, walks outrepparttar 142499 front door, it is time to playrepparttar 142500 "let's dodgerepparttar 142501 bullets" game.

She told me,

"I agree with what you wrote. I lived in Mexico City inthe 1980s and again inrepparttar 142502 1990s and I know what you mean about perspective. It's not like you walk out your front door and have to dodge bullets."[2]

The issue is one of perspective. Ms. Eaton agreed.

So how much crime is in Mexico? Isrepparttar 142503 criminal element that exists in Mexico killing masses of innocent Americans daily? Fromrepparttar 142504 hype that has been inrepparttar 142505 Minuteman Project reports and from their supporters, you would certainly think so. Also, fromrepparttar 142506 State Department's unfounded "traveler's warnings", you would think you do have to dodge bullets each time you dare take one step overrepparttar 142507 Mexican-American border.

You would think it must be some humdinger of a statistic to warrantrepparttar 142508 State Department's andrepparttar 142509 Minuteman supporters' frightening warnings.

The truth is, when Narco News reporter, Bill Conroy tried investigating this little statistical wonder, here is what he got:

“We don’t have figures to respond to this question at this time,” said Diana Page, assistant press attaché forrepparttar 142510 U.S. Embassy Mexico. “The consular section is working on helping Americans, so getting statistics together has to wait.”

Say what?

Next, Conroy filedrepparttar 142511 Freedom of Information Act withrepparttar 142512 U.S. State Department. Here wasrepparttar 142513 reply from Greg Blackman, a State Department program analyst:

Mexicans: Disease-Ridden or a lot of Hype?

Written by Doug Bower

From time to time, I take time away from my book writing duties and my regular column writing to addressrepparttar concerns and comments from readers.

I get it all. I get some thoughtful, linearly constructed arguments and then I getrepparttar 142493 circularly argued ones that make my head spin just trying to figure out where they are coming from and what exactly they are trying to say.

But I like them all (readers are who keep me syndicated in more than 21 publications), I try to learn from most, and take some time, on occasion, to try to answer them. Trying to answer them usually ends with my doing what good writers do—check, recheck, and then double checkrepparttar 142494 sourcesrepparttar 142495 readers claim prove their points. I do investigative reporting!

So here goes, ready or not, hold on, and let's see what we have to discuss today.

Reader Comment One: "… and more terrifying arerepparttar 142496 thousands of cases of TB and hepatitis they (migrant Mexican workers) spread into Los Angeles."

I contactedrepparttar 142497 Center for Disease Control and spoke with Jessica Frickey, Health Communications Specialist. Ms. Frickey said this:

"I am attaching CDC’s most recent fact sheet on 2004 TB surveillance data. You will see that while TB was at an all time low in 2004, progress to eliminaterepparttar 142498 disease may be slowing.

As far as your specific question about illegal immigrants causing a rise in TB, CDC’s data shows that foreign-born individuals – whether illegal immigrants or legal immigrants – accounted for more than half of TB cases reported in 2004. Overall, racial and ethnic minorities also face higher rates of disease than white Americans, with both Hispanics and Blacks at a rate that is 8 times higher than whites and Asians 20 times higher than whites.

Despite these numbers, CDC does not have data to show that foreign-born individuals have caused an increase in TB in recent years."

What I find so interesting is that this reader's comment,

"…the thousands of cases of TB and hepatitis they (migrant Mexican workers) spread into Los Angeles.",

was spouted with absolutely NO stats to supportrepparttar 142499 supposition. His figure, "thousands of cases", whenrepparttar 142500 REALITY is that inrepparttar 142501 year 2004 was at an all time low. I wonder just where this reader got his facts. And do not missrepparttar 142502 fact of what Ms. Frickey pointed out:

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