Workers in El Paso Texas, in the U.S., replace a section of the Mexico-U.S. border fence next to the international border bridge, "Paso del Norte," as seen from Ciudad Juarez, in Chihuahua state, Mexico, on September 26, 2018. (Herika Martinez/AFP/Getty Images)

Paul Theroux’s Nov. 2 op-ed, “Don’t forget the shy Trumpers,” used humor and wisdom to point out that, notwithstanding President Trump’s bombast and vainglory, there are serious problems of trade and immigration that intelligent people know need to be addressed.

My first experience as an official of the U.S. Agency for International Development was instructive. I was sent to work for several weeks in the Philippines. Each day, on my way to the mission, I could see a building with a long line around it and down the block. It was the U.S. Consulate. People were waiting to get visas. Despite all of the piteous human suffering, why are people who happen to live near our borders more deserving of coming to the United States than Filipinos who have contributed so much?

Citizens of many other nations are, of course, in the same position. Perhaps, once the midterm nonsense is over, the United States will mount a serious effort to overcome the drug hoodlums, gangs and corrupt officials in Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala. An effort similar to Plan Colombia could do a lot to stanch the flow of “caravans” and establish a foundation for stability in those countries that more than 60 years of well-meaning foreign assistance has not achieved.

Judd Kessler, Bethesda