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.

  1. I’m still not sure what period in history Trump refers to when he says “make America great again”

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