To the Editor:
Re "Even as Fears of Flu Ebb, Mexicans Feel Stigma" (front page, May 5):
Aside from the actions taken by health officials against travelers from Mexico, which may or may not be legitimate, another side effect of the spread of swine flu is the outrageous attempt by some fear-mongering pundits in the United States to blame undocumented immigrants from Mexico for the spread of disease, which is illegitimate and unacceptable.
Sadly, some radio talk-show hosts, pundits and bloggers are exploiting the global outbreak to vilify and demonize immigrants from Mexico. Their message plays into age-old stereotypes of immigrants as disease-laden intruders and raises a real possibility of discrimination against and harassment of legal and illegal immigrants, who have had no contact with those carrying the disease and who pose no public health risk.
While the flu outbreak is serious and should be met with an equally appropriate response from public health officials, fair-minded Americans should reject any effort to use this outbreak as an excuse to spread the virus of hate.
Deborah M. Lauter
Director, Civil Rights