The Arizona Republic, March 31, 2012

For cryin' out loud, people. This should never have happened. It could have been Arizona. But no. Texas gets the attaboys for cashing in on the benefits of a shared international border. And we do mean benefits. While our state was making news for being tough on illegal immigrants, Texas was rustlin' up some business. And we do mean business. Consider the numbers.

In 2008, Arizona's exports to Mexico totaled $5.9 billion. The recession brought that to a low of about $4.5 billion during 2009, but it has been rising steadily ever since, according to figures from the Arizona Commerce Authority. In 2011, Arizona's exports to Mexico totaled $5.7 billion, up from $5.05 billion the previous year. Still below 2008. Not bad until you look at the Lone Star State. In 2008, Texas' exports to Mexico were $62 billion. In 2011, the number had jumped to $87 billion. Instead of losing ground, Texas made progress despite a sour economy. Why? Arizona got sidetracked. Texas tended to business.

"Texas is the state with the closest economic ties to Mexico, and as a result, its economy is growing much faster than the U.S. average"

Christopher Wilson and Andrew Selee, both with the Mexico Institute at the Woodrow Wilson Center, wrote in the Dallas Morning News.