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Paradise Lost

It was supposed to be a slice of heaven for American retirees and weekenders -- a sliver of the Baja, Mexico coast some 100 miles south of the U.S. border. But it has become a living hell, reports CBS News Correspondent Jerry Bowen.

"We're scared of losing what we have," said retiree Pat McIntyre. "We have everything in the world invested here."

Since foreigners cannot own coastal property in Mexico, the Americans leased it and built nice homes. But Mexico's Supreme Court ruled the people they dealt with didn't really own the land. So the Americans are being evicted.

"We're the innocent group stuck in the middle," says McIntyre. "We're the innocent third party."

But the real owners aren't very sympathetic.

Carlos Pedroarena has fought the Americans for over a decade. He says they enjoyed a beach his own family was denied until he won in court.

"We were persona non grata on our own properties," he says. "The fact is many of our children have never stepped on this sand. I grew up on these beaches. They did not. I have to take my children to other beaches."

Amazingly, many Americans knew of the dispute when they bought the land. Now they're being evicted from their dream home.

"We knew there was some problem as to who owned the land," says retiree Edward Phinney. "And we knew that might change but we didn't think it would affect us."

Dennis Peyton, the attorney working for the Americans, says that's the problem: His clients were in denial.

"Very often people end up leaving their brains at the border," he says.

And now they're furious. Retiree John Garner says if he loses his home, other Americans will be afraid of coming to Mexico.

"To tell you the truth, I don't think anybody should step another foot over here if they have any intentions of investing or anything else," he says. "When you're American, they do whatever they want to do to you and that's the end of it."

Now their only hope is negotiating a new lease to keep what they have. But one thing's certain: the cost of paradise is going up.

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