Mexican 'Paisanos' Head South For Christmas

LAREDO, Texas (AP) - Mexican nationals and descendants are making their annual migration from Texas to spend the Christmas and New Year's holidays with their extended families in Mexico.

The holiday traffic of "paisanos," or countrymen, is a familiar sight at the Laredo entrance to Mexico. The Laredo Morning Times reports that, from noon Friday through Saturday evening, 785 paisanos used a holiday rest stop set up on Interstate 35 southbound 13 miles from the border.

Laredo Convention and Visitors Bureau manager Blasita Lopez clocked the paisanos heading south. She tells the Times that the traffic this year is on a par with last year, when about 2,000 people checked through in a 48-hour span.

The rest stop includes refreshments and Mexican consular officials to help with visas and passports.