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As a former resident, and Anglo, I would like to offer a few facts and an opinion about the Hispanic population in New Mexico that may differ from the recent letter in the Editor's Mailbag.

The Spanish first came to New Mexico from Mexico in 1598. New Mexico got little attention from Anglos until the 1800s. When New Mexico joined the United States in 1846 and then became a state in 1912, there still wasn't a large Anglo movement to New Mexico. The real growth in the Anglo population happened later in the 20th century and was never enough to cause the population to become more Anglo than Hispanic. Hispanics remain the largest component of the population with 48 percent, followed by Anglos (39 percent), and indigenous (Native Americans), with less than 8 percent.

In my association with Hispanics, whether poor (my childhood) or educated (my adulthood), I have found Hispanics warm, welcoming, hardworking, and culturally rich with a strong sense of family and community.

Stephen Merrill

Philomath (March 3)

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