Peter Laufer


On his book Calexico: True Lives of the Borderlands

Cover Interview of October 11, 2011

In a nutshell

Calexico takes the reader to a border unlike the stereotypes.

The lawlessness of some border flashpoints dominates border news.  The bulk of Americans, those of us living far from the 2,000 miles of border, conjure up drugs into San Diego and illegal immigration into El Paso when considering that frontier, or murders in Juarez and slums in Tijuana.

But Tijuana-San Diego and Juarez-El Paso are not the only examples of the Mexican border.

On my last trip to the border I headquartered myself far from the urban crossroads. I chose sleepy Calexico.

I hung out with the locals, Calexicans who live a bi-lingual, bi-cultural life. Their day-to-day existences and their futures depend on their relationships across the artificial line in the sand with Mexicali.

Most Americans agree the border is broken. By studying the unique Borderlands culture through the lens of Calexico we may well find fixes that elude the policymakers in Washington and Mexico City.