News and views from the award-winning author of the novels The Skinny Years, America Libre, House Divided and Pancho Land

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Hard-pressed Americans now crossing into Mexico

The foes of Hispanic immigration invariably depict border crossers as callous opportunists eager to exploit American abundance. Yet there is an awkward silence from these same circles about the recent rush of U.S. citizens crossing the border into Mexico to escape their own financial woes.

You see, the price of gasoline in Mexico is around $2.66 a gallon (compared to roughly $4 per gallon in most of the USA.) So a lot of U.S. drivers near the border are heading south for their fill-ups. And not all of this traffic is legal, either.

According to the New York Times, a Texas trucking company official who declined to give his name fearing prosecution for tax evasion, claims to have saved $12,000 a month by filling up the company’s four trucks in Mexico. Undoubtedly, there are many others illegally exploiting the price differences.

Critics of immigration are quick to remind us their own ancestors came to the U.S. “legally.” These nativists love to crow about the superiority of their culture and its respect for the rule of law. It appears all it took to erode that much ballyhooed respect was for gas to reach $4 per gallon.

Raul Ramos y Sanchez