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The Mexicanization of North America

For nearly 200 years the United States and Mexico coexisted as a series of antonyms separated by a desert.  The United States was prosperous and free.  Mexico was poor and despotic.  For a time, the United States was the preeminent middle-class society.  Mexico has been a society of extremes.  For most Americans, Mexico was a place to score some peyote or escape from the law, and the only Mexicans seen were in movies directed by Sam Peckinpah and John Ford.

Today, Mexicans can be seen in every region of the United States, and together with other “Latinos” are now the largest ethnic minority in the country.  Mexican nationals are cultivating marijuana plantations on national forest land in California and Colorado.  They have driven down wages in Midwestern meatpacking plants.  Mexican drug cartels have established a permanent presence within the United States and form the “perfect system” for distributing methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin throughout the country.  As Nick Reding writes in Methland, an American law-enforcement agent has admitted that “the DTOs [drug-trafficking organizations] hold Atlanta.”  They “are as highly trained as we are in intelligence gathering, evasion techniques, and weapons.  They watch us watching them.”

The United States has begun to fit the social and political profile of a Latin-American...

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