Monday, December 8, 2008


NOB (North Of the Border) there is a widespread belief that Mexico is full of people whose only desire is to get into the USA.  This could not be further from the truth. Mexicans are very proud of their country and are very content here.

In the past two years I have had the opportunity to talk to many Mexican people. There are many Mexicans who speak English and they want to practice on me. I run into them in restaurants, on the street and in businesses.

I was waiting for Norma as she was shopping one time and sat on a bench in a Centro. A young man in his 30’s sat beside me and started to chat. His English was very good so I asked him where he learned it. He said he works in an auto body shop in Los Angeles. He said he went there a couple of years ago for the high wages but does not like it. He says the wages are good compared to Mexico but he misses his wife and kids so he ends up taking time off and coming home to visit many times a year. He finds it very difficult to keep a room in L.A. as well as support his family here in Mexico on what he earns. He said, “The wages are good but it costs a lot to live there”. He would like to find a job at home where he can be with his family. He does not like Los Angeles and does not feel welcome there.

I was having a muffler replaced on the Honda in Villa Corona last year and the repairman went next door to get his friend to translate for him. I talked to the translator while the muffler work was being done. He had worked in Texas for some time but did not like it. “They don’t like Mexicans up there” he said. He came back home and opened up a car wash and waxing business which is having a hard time getting going. He is afraid he might have to go back to the USA if he can not make a “go” of his business. When the muffler was done I had him wash and hand wax the Honda. He did a very good job.

Yesterday we met a young Mexican man in a cafe in Quiroga who spoke perfect English although with a distinct Southern accent. He translated for the waitress who was trying to explain something to us. We spoke to him later and he lives and works in Carolina where he is a laboratory technician in a paint manufacturing company. He has a Chemistry Degree but had to go to the USA to get a job using his education. He was back in town for the weddings of two relatives but was anxious to get back to work. He will work in the USA for a “few years” and then come home to Mexico to retire. He is not married and is saving his money.

Salvador, an older gentleman we met in Leon last year earned his Mechanical Engineering degree in Mexico and then got a job in the auto industry in Michigan where he worked for thirty some years until he was “downsized” and returned to live in Mexico. He had been gone most of his life but was very happy to be home. “I was never really happy up there”, he said and is very “content” to be back in Mexico where he can live very well on his pension. He now entertains himself playing saxophone in a Jazz band with some of his old school friends.

These are just a few stories out of hundreds of thousands but they do give a general idea of what people here think of having to work NOB. I did not inquire as to the legality of these people’s status in the USA but I suspect that most, if not all were legal. Without exception they would rather be in Mexico and their time in the USA was only a means to that end.

1 comment:

  1. The Mexican worker takes pride in the quality of his labor: