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Amid Talk of Border Walls, MPI President’s New Book Examines How the U.S. & Mexico Are Increasingly Intertwined
Press Release
Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Amid Talk of Border Walls, MPI President’s New Book Examines How the U.S. & Mexico Are Increasingly Intertwined

WASHINGTON – While much recent discussion of the U.S. relationship with Mexico has focused on the Trump administration’s intent to build a wall on the border and further stiffen immigration control policies, Migration Policy Institute (MPI) President Andrew Selee paints a more nuanced picture of the deepening cultural, social and economic ties between the two countries in a forthcoming book that shows how these connections are shaping the future of both countries.

In Vanishing Frontiers: The Forces Driving Mexico and the United States Together, Selee sketches the remarkable economic, educational and innovation transformation Mexico has undergone over the past two decades. Drawing upon individual stories, the book demonstrates how this emerging Mexico increasingly influences daily life in the United States in surprising fashion, and how business and community leaders—and average citizens—on both sides of the border are finding new ways to cooperate. 

Workers in Hazleton, PA, which a dozen years ago became the first U.S. community to enact local ordinances aimed at pushing out unauthorized immigrants, now churn out bread, potato chips and tortillas in nearby factories owned by Mexican companies. In San Diego, long-sidelined efforts to expand the local airport eventually gave way to building a pedestrian bridge over the existing border fence to connect U.S. passengers to the international airport in Tijuana. And in Popular Bluff, Missouri, Mexican investment made a U.S. nail industry weakened by cheaper imports competitive again. Meanwhile, roughly 1 million Americans now live in Mexico, Mexican filmmakers have placed their imprint on Hollywood and Mexican technology entrepreneurs are building ties to the innovation ecosystem in Silicon Valley.

“The United States and Mexico are increasingly integrated and interdependent,” Selee writes. “Today we are no longer ‘distant neighbors’ … but rather ‘intimate strangers,’ deeply connected to each other, yet with few of the tools we need to understand our growing intimacy.”

Selee researched and wrote the book, which will be published by PublicAffairs on June 5, partly during his time at MPI and partly while at the Wilson Center, where he founded the Mexico Institute. He completed the book while on a prestigious Andrew Carnegie fellowship.

The themes of his latest book will be discussed June 5 at an MPI-Wilson Center event featuring the Mexican Ambassador to the United States, Gerónimo Gutiérrez; recent U.S. ambassador to Mexico, Roberta Jacobson; the U.S. Trade Representative who negotiated NAFTA, Carla Hills; former U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Alan Bersin; and former Economic Minister at the Mexican Embassy Antonio Ortiz Mena.

To register or learn more about the discussion, which will explore the emerging trends in migration, economic interdependence, technology innovation and cultural exchange that are transforming the U.S.-Mexico relationship, and their policy implications, click here.

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The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) is an independent, non-partisan, non-profit think tank in Washington, DC dedicated to analysis of the movement of people worldwide. MPI provides analysis, development and evaluation of migration and refugee policies at local, national and international levels.