Society & Culture

Borders and Other Silly Concerns

My housekeeper personifies the American Dream.  Her journey from rags may not have ended in riches.  But she now enjoys a solid middle-class existence after decades of backbreaking labor.  Born and raised in the Mexican state of Puebla, Laura married her first and only boyfriend, Daniel, in her late teens.  The newlyweds moved in with Daniel’s parents and four siblings right after their wedding, both to save money and to allow Daniel to finish college.  But the barren Pueblan landscape bore a metaphorical resemblance to the sluggish late 1980’s Mexican malaise.  Even if he were to stay in college to earn his accounting degree, Daniel saw a grim future in Puebla’s struggling economy.  With a naiveté that seems all the more endearing each time I hear the story, Laura loves to explain the plan she and Daniel concocted to escape their suffocating nuptial abode and lack of opportunity.  They agreed that Daniel would emigrate to the United States, work for one year, and then return home with unimaginable wealth.  To carry out her half of the scheme, Laura would stay in Puebla to locate a plot of choice real estate upon which they would construct their very own family compound while Daniel was stuffing cash in his pockets in the U.S.  Children, grandchildren, and a life of leisure would keep them busy for the rest of their lives.

Not surprisingly, six months into...

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