The Border Gate Swings Both Ways

By David Simmonds 

The TV and radio talking heads and the op-ed writers for the print dailies (does anyone still walking read these guys anymore?) obnoxiously rant ad-nauseam about the immigration “problem”. One thing they all have in common is that no one has a workable solution. Political lines are erased as xenophobes hold hands with environmentalists and racist thugs embrace union workers, each looking out for whatever benefits them and theirs. I can’t tell you how many times progressive friends have told me ” I can’t believe I’m agreeing with Pat Buchanan on anything, much less this issue”. Life’s confusing enough without having to make that kind of confession.

What isn’t being talked about is all of the people heading the other way. That’s right, the 1946 – 1964 born baby boomers who are taking their considerable real estate equity while dusting off the 1960’s mantra to “keep on trucking”. No one knows for sure what the numbers are, but somewhere around a million Americans and Canadians are now residing, at least part of the year, down Mexico way. And from my anecdotal evidence, the surge has just begun. More and more, thanks to the internet, this group is discovering that making the move is a real option, not only financially, but for a better life-style. They see their retirement checks being devoured by an American system that has devolved into situation where $100,000 a year between you and your spouse means you’re middle-class and sinking. The gap between the rich and poor hasn’t been this great since the Gilded Age, before the New Deal, the G.I. bill and the formation of unions helped to build the strongest and fairest economy the world has seen…the one in which the boomers came of age. Throw in the disgust felt by many about a foreign policy designed to bully much of the world, and a domestic policy that encourages U.S. corporations to move their operations abroad, taking good jobs with them, and you end up with many of us thinking “I haven’t got that many active years left, I really ought to find a place to spend them the best I can”. I hear it very day.

So now there are popular pockets in Mexico where gringos are setting up shop. There are the well-known haunts like Guadalajara/Lake Chapala, San Miguel de Allende and Puerto Vallarta, as well as the newer “hot” spots of Puerto Penasco, the Nayarit coast and the Mayan Riviera. When those are filled and “gringo-ized”, there will be new places, and on and on. The border between Mexico and the U.S. is disappearing, and no fence, or Minutemen, or stump-speech posturing is going to stop it. The traffic is going in both directions, like it or not.