Lines drawn on a map do little to divide the inhabitants of two countries and three states (New Mexico, Texas, and the Mexican state of Chihuahua) who share a history dating back some 400 years. In the small border villages of Columbus and Las Palomas, Mexico, families live and do business on both sides of the international boundary line. Las Cruces, New Mexico, and El Paso, Texas, are both growing so quickly that they seem to be near the point of merging via housing developments. Anthony is the little town between the two, with a sweet, small-town feel and a dynamic community-minded sensibility. The borderland area also draws transplants from the eastern and western United States, who come to take advantage of the mild weather and placid way of life.

You might be surprised to find U.S. Border Patrol checkpoints on all major highways leading away from the El Paso area to destinations such as Carlsbad, Deming, Truth or Consequences, and Alamogordo. Uniformed officers will simply ask your citizenship, though trained dogs sometimes circle vehicles in searches for illegal drugs. The stops are routine, and law-abiding citizens should encounter no difficulty.

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