Ex Mex: From Migrants to Immigrants

In This Review

Ex Mex: From Migrants to Immigrants

By Jorge G. Castañeda
New Press, 2007
240 pp. $25.95

Mexican President Vicente Fox's first foreign minister, the brilliant Princeton-educated intellectual Castañeda, persuaded the Bush administration to contemplate comprehensive immigration reform. Like Fox, Castañeda remains an optimist -- confident that North American economic and social integration is inevitable -- even as he is frustrated by Washington's inability to reach a sensible consensus on nearer-term collaborative strategies. Written in English for the U.S. market, like Fox's memoir, Ex Mex presents a modern Mexican perspective in language intended to appeal to its target audience. And like Fox, Castañeda defends his record in government principally on ethical grounds -- he was, he says, driven by concern for the welfare of the millions of Mexican immigrants living in the United States without legal protections. Castañeda is a wonderful writer -- literate, lucid, iconoclastic -- and guides the reader through the complex immigration debates with a firm yet responsive grip. Splendidly weaving together his personal interactions with senior U.S. officials and informed commentaries on the interactions of U.S. and Mexican domestic politics, he also offers one of the best case studies so far of contemporary inter-American diplomacy.

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