It seems that the United States gets more than just people seeking to immigrate from its neighbor to the south.
“When the holidays come, people drive across the border to get gifts and food from Arizona,” said Manuel Lopez Loaiza, a resident of Sonora, Mexico and current student at the University of Montana.
Sonora is the second largest state in Mexico, and boasts a large trade infrastructure with the U.S., according to Explorando Mexico, a website dedicated to providing information on all of the states in Mexico. Loaiza believes that there is still something amiss when it comes to the local economies along the border.
“I would rather see people spend money at home than across the border,” Loaiza said, “Some people drive five hours to get to the border, and then wait another five to get across and spend money there.”
Although the economy of Sonora has been doing well over the years, people still come to the U.S. to buy certain things for some savings, rather than spend a little more at home. This idea of going to corporations like Wal-Mart instead of supporting local stores rings true in America as well, with many local companies struggling to maintain during tough economic times.
“Sonora is pretty Americanized,” according to Loaiza, “The ‘Mexican’ culture isn’t as large as you would think.” Loaiza said that being so close to the U.S. has probably been the cause, and noted that the difference in culture between Northern Mexico and Southern Mexico is “intense.”
Loaiza lived in Ciudad Obregon, a small city in Sonora, all of his life. He travelled to the U.S. about two and a half years ago to go to school at the University of California in Davis, California where he studied English as a second language. He transferred to Missoula to go to UM last year to continue his education.
“If you asked me where I would like to end up, it would be California,” Loaiza said, regarding whether or not he would ideally like to return to Sonora.