The Border

What may be North America's hottest growth zone is blossoming where Mexico and the U.S. meet. A quirk of the global economy, it is also--for better or worse--a world unto itself

Lorenzo Rodriguez is a man of two worlds: the First and the Third. The ambitious, 34-year-old Mexican lives with his U.S.-born wife and two children in a quiet, upscale neighborhood in El Paso, Texas. It's a comfortable life most Mexicans only can dream of. Such thoughts sometimes enter the young engineer's mind on weekday mornings as he drives across the Rio Grande to work in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico. Rodriguez grew up speaking Spanish and English in this dusty border city of factories and shanty settlements. Now, he works in a gleaming new research center built by General Motors Corp.'s Delphi division at a cost of $13 million. As a top specialist there, he takes a certain pride in working "on the leading edge," solving problems for customers as far away as South Korea.

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