“Dear racist Nazi,

I just finished reading your column about illegal immigration and was horrified, but hardly shocked, by your insulting comments towards Mexico and its people. It’s exactly the kind of xenophobic rhetoric I’ve come to expect from right-wing hate-mongers like you. Is it any wonder the rest of the world hates us with ugly Americans like you insulting entire nations and cultures that you clearly do not appreciate or understand? Why don’t you try love and compassion instead of racism and hatred, you stupid f***ing a**hole?”

It was signed, Compassionate in Columbia.

Dear Compassionate,

First of all, it’s either “racist” or “Nazi.” Using both is redundant.

Second, I’m fascinated by the argument that opposing all illegal immigration is racist. If you can define the common racial element among the Irish, Mexicans, Haitians and Afghans — all of whom would be affected by enforcing immigration law — I might buy your argument that “border security” is a code word for “join the KKK.”

Having said that, you are right that Mexico is frequently singled out in the immigration debate, due in part to the fact that 80 percent of illegal immigrants in the United States are from Mexico or Central America. And you are right that Mexico is viewed as the poster child for immigration lawlessness in America. Then again, it’s also the only country whose president, Vicente Fox, has announced that he has the right to review and approve our nation’s immigration laws.

Oh, and there’s one other reason Mexico looms large in the immigration debate: Nobody wants to live there.

Any country whose culture and quality of life is so desperately low that its citizens are willing to risk death by walking burning desert sands for the chance to live in an Orangeburg County mobile home is obviously a hellhole. Living in Mexico clearly sucks.

But don’t take my word for it. A Pew research poll found that more than 40 percent of all Mexicans would flee their homeland for the U.S. tomorrow if they got the chance. Around 20 percent of all Mexicans would sneak in illegally just to get the hell out of Mexico.

So, I will concede that I have about as much admiration and respect for Mexico’s economic and cultural achievement as the people of Mexico do. But let’s say, for the sake of discussion, that I were a multiculturalist and believed all cultures are equal. Let’s say that I agreed it was time to stop mocking modern Mexico and start learning from it.

Here are three places I’d be willing to start:

“Doing Jobs The Natives Won’t Do.” Illegal alien advocates insist that Mexicans crossing our borders illegally are doing America a favor by “taking jobs Americans won’t do.” Well, if that’s the Mexican definition of neighborliness, why don’t we Americans return the favor and sneak into Mexico to do the jobs they won’t do. Like, for example, creating actual jobs in Mexico?

Here in the evil, racist U.S., about 13 percent of our population live below the poverty line. In kindly, compassionate Mexico, that number is at least 40 percent. And that number is artificially low because about 5-6 million of Mexico’s poorest and least educated citizens currently live illegally in America. So our poverty rate would be even lower, and Mexico’s higher, if more Mexican citizens were willing to live in their own country.

“I Am Not A Criminal!” Another popular idea from Mexico, that merely being in the U.S. illegally isn’t actually illegal, er, or something like that. OK, so let’s adopt Mexico’s approach to illegal immigration and border security. You know, show the “illegals” a little love, South Of The Border-style. First, we’ll station the military along our southern border (like Mexico does), then we’ll make illegally entering the U.S. a crime (like Mexico) and then we’ll immediately capture and deport all illegal immigrants (like Mexico). Feelin’ the love yet?

Then let’s treat the Mexicans protesting our government in our streets the same way foreign protesters would be treated in Mexico City: Rounded up, arrested and either jailed or deported. Mexican law forbids immigrants, including legal ones, from participating in the political process in any way. Can you say “Don’t pick up the soap” in Spanish, Sen. Kennedy?

“Just Looking For A Better Life.” Convincing Americans to emulate our Mexican neighbors and flee our own country for “a better life” isn’t going to be easy. Other than meth lab technicians and wildly unsuccessful hookers, what American not currently evading extradition would rather live in Mexico?

How can we change that? How can we make America the kind of country where 40 percent of its own citizens would want to leave?

Simple. Let illegal immigration advocates turn it into another Mexico.