Last Updated September 5, 2023.
Rincón is a Mexican man who immigrates illegally to the United States with his wife, América, who also happens to be his ex-wife’s younger sister. They are hoping for a better life, yet they only meet obstacles. América is pregnant, and they want desperately to provide a good life for their child. The lives of the Rincóns intersect with the lives of the Mossbachers when Delaney hits Cándido with his car. Rather than call the police, Delaney gives Cándido money—$20. This meager amount does nothing to help Cándido, who is injured and has trouble working afterward. Delaney believes that he supports immigrants, but his actions show something different. His wife, Kyra, is against illegal immigration and is more outspoken about her feelings than Delaney. Delaney and Kyra’s son Jordan is ambivalent to both his mother and stepfather.
Jack Jardine is the president of the Mossbachers’ homeowners’ association, and he advocates putting a wall around the estates to keep out illegal immigration. His son, Jack Jardine Jr., has the same views as his father, but worse, and even destroys the Rincóns’ home. Throughout the novel the characters display not only different ideals and values, but the way our real values can differ from what we believe they are.