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Yes, unfortunately, to leave to Mexico (or Canada or any of the adjacent islands to the U.S.) and "reset" the time, you would have had to have gone for at least 30 days. So basically, you activated the 3 year bar which means that you would not be able to get a visa to come to the U.S. unless you also got a very hard to get waiver. However, since it has been more than 3 years since you last left the U.S., you no longer need the waiver. You cannot use an ESTA, of course, but you can apply for a new B-2 tourist visa. You will, however, have to convince the visa officer that you will not overstay or otherwise violate a U.S immigration law again. In order to help you,
I will provide you with two links that may be helpful. The first is to an article that will explain what they look for when issuing a non-immigrant visa like the B-2. The second is a list of things that can be presented to prove non-immigrant intent and the strong ties to the home country.
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