restricted access Paso Libre: Border Enactment, Infrastructure, and Crisis Resolution at the Port of Laredo 1954–1957

In 1954, Hurricane Alice destroyed the International Bridge at Laredo, Texas (USA) and Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas (Mexico). Eager to protect trade, the Mexican federal government and the City of Laredo rushed to rebuild but right-to-toll disagreements stalled construction. Laredo officials used the long-standing tradition of George Washington's birthday celebration and the paso libre enacted for the festivities to resolve the crisis. Mexican citizens crossed the bridge without documentation during the festivities for almost 20 years.