Vanishing Frontiers (Hardcover)

The Forces Driving Mexico and the United States Together

By Andrew Selee

PublicAffairs, 9781610398596, 336pp.

Publication Date: June 5, 2018

List Price: 28.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


There may be no story today with a wider gap between fact and fiction than the relationship between the United States and Mexico.

Wall or no wall, deeply intertwined social, economic, business, cultural, and personal relationships mean the US-Mexico border is more like a seam than a barrier, weaving together two economies and cultures.

Mexico faces huge crime and corruption problems, but its remarkable transformation over the past two decades has made it a more educated, prosperous, and innovative nation than most Americans realize. Through portraits of business leaders, migrants, chefs, movie directors, police officers, and media and sports executives, Andrew Selee looks at this emerging Mexico, showing how it increasingly influences our daily lives in the United States in surprising ways--the jobs we do, the goods we consume, and even the new technology and entertainment we enjoy.

From the Mexican entrepreneur in Missouri who saved the US nail industry, to the city leaders who were visionary enough to build a bridge over the border fence so the people of San Diego and Tijuana could share a single international airport, to the connections between innovators in Mexico's emerging tech hub in Guadalajara and those in Silicon Valley, Mexicans and Americans together have been creating productive connections that now blur the boundaries that once separated us from each other.

About the Author

Andrew Selee is president of the Migration Policy Institute and former executive vice president of the Woodrow Wilson Center, where he founded and directed its Mexico Institute. For five years in the 1990s he lived in a shantytown in Tijuana, Mexico, helping to start a community center and home for migrant youth. In the quarter-century since, he has witnessed firsthand the dramatic transformation of this city specifically and the country as a whole. Dr. Selee writes a regular column for Mexico's largest newspaper and has written op-eds for the Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and Los Angeles Times.

Praise For Vanishing Frontiers: The Forces Driving Mexico and the United States Together

"[A] welcome
perspective on migration."—Reuters

"Engaging.... While the
intractable anti-Mexican minority in the U.S. retains its power to influence
elections, their leaders really ought to read this book. So should the
president."—Wall Street Journal

"A painstakingly
even-handed portrait of the US and Mexico at a pivotal moment."Financial Times

"An evenhanded,
reasoned contribution to an overheated discussion."—Kirkus Reviews

"Andrew Selee brilliantly chronicles the forces that
have redefined our relationship with Mexico over the past quarter century,
covering trade, immigration, security, and so much more. His intimate
knowledge of Mexico and its people shines through as he tells the story, in a
highly readable fashion, of why Mexico matters to the well-being of our
nation. As our government is currently renegotiating the North American
Free Trade Agreement, Vanishing Frontiers is a must read for
all Americans, who will find it a book once started, very hard to put down."—Carla Hills, former US trade representative and secretary of housing and urban development

"While some politicians talk about walls, Andrew Selee
tells us about the bridges that bind Mexico and the United States together. Few
relationships will define our future as much as the one we have with the
country next door. From energy and innovation to film and food, this book
captures the many linkages that tie us together and shows why Mexico
truly matters for our future."—Bill Richardson, former governor of New Mexico, US ambassador to the United Nations, and secretary of energy

"Drawing on his deep bicultural background, Andrew Selee narrates in
colorful and fascinating detail how economic integration and demographic change
are blending Mexican and American societies. Given the ongoing and heated
public debate about NAFTA and US-Mexican relations, this is a most timely
work."—John Negroponte, former US ambassador to Mexico, deputy secretary of state, and director of national intelligence

"In nativist times, Andrew Selee's Vanishing Frontiers is a spot
on, vivid, extraordinary, ground-level view of the key players quietly building
bridges between the United States and Mexico. This wide-ranging, painstakingly
well-researched, and sharply written account provides a much-needed human face
to grasp the seismic changes sweeping both countries. Vanishing Frontiers
adds much needed context and splendid insight to today's complex conversation.
Selee takes us on a personal journey and bluntly reminds us why walls are
obsolete and ties inevitable. You cannot understand the future of both
countries without reading Vanishing Frontiers."—Alfredo Corchado, border correspondent, Dallas Morning News, and author, Midnight in Mexico

"This beautifully crafted work is an extraordinary
account of the deep and complex relationship between Mexico and the United
States, sharing the same qualities as Richard Reeves' bestselling American
Journey: Traveling with Tocqueville in Search of Democracy in America.
Reeves and Tocqueville, he has travelled throughout the United States, speaking
in-depth with Mexicans and Americans from all backgrounds and ages, in order to
shed light on the degree to which the two countries have become integrated economically
and culturally, presenting fascinating stories of successful individuals whose
professions range from restaurants to film, sports to journalism, and
technology to politics. Their personal experiences are woven deeply through the
fabric of both societies, allowing readers to identify and clearly understand
numerous trends in their deepening integration. The degree to which Selee
effectively combines fascinating personal accounts with in-depth recent data
revealing significant trends in the relationship will appeal to and deserves
the broadest readership."—Roderic Ai Camp, Philip McKenna Professor of the Pacific Rim, Claremont McKenna College, and author, Politics in Mexico

"Vanishing Frontiers offers fascinating insights into the ways
that ordinary people-and some extraordinary human beings-continue to shape US
relations with Mexico. Outside the glare of politics, citizens of both
countries are bringing their nations together in myriad ways. Selee's optimism
is more than wishful thinking; it is based on years of personal observation and
empirical research. And it offers a welcome corrective to the anti-Mexican
rhetoric exuding from Washington DC these days."—Peter H. Smith, distinguished professor emeritus, University of California, San Diego, visiting professor, University of Denver, and author, Talons of the Eagle: Latin America, the United States, and the World

"In this fascinating collection of fact-based
stories, Andrew Selee draws on his deep and personal knowledge of both the
United States and Mexico to reveal to us how, underneath today's choppy waters,
the strong combined currents of economy, geography, demography, and culture are
inexorably driving our two countries together into a synergistic production and
social platform and a closely interwoven destiny, transforming both countries
along the way. This is a must read for anyone interested in learning more about
an indispensable and strategic neighbor and in visualizing and harnessing
the shape of things to come in North America."—Jose L. Prado, chairman and CEO, Evans Food Group, and former president, Quaker Oats North America

"Selee offers a timely antidote to Trump's dark vision of the bilateral
relationship....he shows how deepening integration has expanded beyond economics,
as lasting individual and cultural relationships have formed across the
border."—Americas Quarterly

"A welcome antidote to the poisonous diatribes and factual distortions that recur in the US debate on Mexico....stimulating, well-written."—International Affairs