Mexico and the U.S. – Then and Now

I remember how relaxed they were in the Sixties. People could go back and forth across the border easily.

When I  was working in Baltimore in 1959, on my last summer before graduating as an Electronic Engineer from the U of Illinois, I met a young Mexican man, who was living with his sister and her husband, both Mexican doctors, who were doing advanced training at a hospital in Washington, DC.

He owned a little printing company in Mexico City – but would sometimes come to the States to make some extra money. He had no trouble getting a job. On his last trip, he bought a new Chevrolet convertible, drove it down to Mexico City – and stopped making payments!

Lots of Americans, including my own parents, lived in Mexico easily. And crime was not a problem. Large numbers of Hispanics lived in Los Angles, and other places – including my home town of Ft. Madison, Iowa. They weren’t considered ideal citizens, but were tolerated easily.

Fifty years later there was a wall between the two countries, and and the Border Police were arresting many illegal immigrants – a category of people that had never existed before.  And crime (mainly involving drugs) was a huge problem!

What happened?

A lot of things – the economies of both America and Mexico deteriorated – and Americans became less tolerant. Mexicans were considered another race – and a despised one. American companies still hired Mexican workers (because they were hard-working, and would work for less) – but were careful about doing so, since it was illegal.

But most important of all – Americans decided to know nothing – and were not interested in patching things up between the two countries.

Americans were eagerly buying all the drugs Mexican criminals were sending them – but were not interested in solving their drug problems.

Drugs were relieving the pain of being Americans.

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