I’ll start with some quick statistics.
In 1960 the average Mexican woman gave birth to 6.78 children in her lifetime. In that same year the per capita annual income for Mexico was $336. So fifty five years ago a typical Mexican breadwinner would have to support a large family on a dollar a day.
In 1960 the average woman in the United States had 3.65 children in her lifetime and the per capita income in the US was $3,007. That translated to half as many mouths to feed with ten times more money to do it with.
For decades Mexico sent young impoverished peasants to the north in search of a better life. And the US received them willingly because Mexicans were an inexhaustible supply of incredibly cheap malleable labor.
This coincided with the civil rights movement that slowly and imperfectly liberated black people from Jim Crow segregation and economic disenfranchisement. To put it bluntly, the US gradually traded cheap easily exploited black labor for cheap easily exploited Mexican labor. Who were the field hands, dish washers, maids, and gardeners in 1960? Who are they now? The fact that Latin immigrants were in the US illegally was a bonus for employers. Illegals were prohibited from organizing or demanding higher pay or better working conditions. They were the perfect economic substitute for “Negros”.
Today the average Mexican woman will have 2.2 children in her lifetime (and that number keeps dropping) and the per capita income in Mexico is about $11,000. That compares to the current fertility rate of 1.88 in the US with per capita income at $53,000.
Mexico is still substantially poorer than the US, but there’s a profound difference between the quality of life in Mexico today and what existed in 1960. Mexicans now live as comfortably as people in the US did fifty five years ago. Mexicans currently enjoy a Kennedy era standard of living. Immigration from Mexico to the US has come to a nearly complete halt brought on by a steady demographic and economic shift. The immigrants we see today are the result of a population bulge that crested in the 1990’s and has been in decline ever since. All the chest thumping and Donald Trumping these days is just the US looking in the rear view mirror. If you look forward things look a lot different.
The United States has a long history of loving cheap labor, but hating the people who provide it.