If you are American and you want a six-month tourist visa to Mexico, you cross the border and pay $20 at the immigration office. If you stay in the border regions you don't even need to do this. If you travel by airplane the cost is already included in your ticket price.
If you are Mexican and you want a tourist visa of *any* duration to visit the United States, you must:
* Pay $140 USD for the privilege of having an interview with US Customs.
* Travel to Mexico City to interview with an agent.
* Let them keep the money even if they deny you a visa, which is 3/4 of the time.
This is horrible and demeaning and makes me embarrassed for my country.
Adolfo recently went through this process. Two minutes into the interview the agent told him his application was denied. Adolfo has no criminal record, an education, a good job, and family in Oaxaca. The fact that he can't get a tourist visa makes me really upset. The fact that he and lots of people like him are getting screwed out of a significant amount of money by a boldfaced money-generating racket worthy of any corrupt third-world bureaucracy makes me really angry