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In the decade since Crossing Over first appeared, immigration from Mexico has only become more fraught and more lethal, the rallying cry of nativist politics and a pawn in the war on terror. Yet the U.S.-Mexican border remains one of the most permeable boundaries in the world, breached daily by Mexicans in search of work. Thousands die crossing the line, and those who reach "the other side" are branded illegals, undocumented and unprotected.
Following the migration of the Chavez clan, an extended Mexican family who lost three sons in a tragic border accident, Ruben Martinez traces the migrants' progress from their small southern Mexican town to California, Wisconsin, and Missouri. Far from joining the melting pot, Martinez argues, the seven million migrants who are now here are creating a new Hispanic-influenced culture that is dramatically altering both Mexico and the United States.