Why It's Important for Americans to Understand Mexico

Why It's Important for Americans to Understand Mexico
Antony Stanley | Flickr

Mexico is our next-door neighbor but it seems many Americans are not well-informed about it.

Wrong and outdated impressions of Mexico affect our policymakers as well. This is particularly true regarding border and immigration policy.

After all, we share a border of 1,954 miles with Mexico. That’s the border over which millions of Mexicans and non-Mexicans have invaded the U.S. over the past few years, facilitated by the Biden administration.

Consider a few relevant Mexico topics:

Wealth and Poverty

Americans think of Mexico as a poor country. And it is, compared to the United States.

But Mexico is wealthier and has a higher standard of living than most countries in Latin America and Africa.

There are, of course, many poor Mexicans. But doesn’t Mexico itself, with all its wealth, have a responsibility to help its own poor people?

It’s easy to fall into the “just let all the poor people in” trap when it comes to Mexico or any other Third World country. If we do that, though, we are enabling the ruling classes of these countries to dump their poor people on to the United States without solving the problems in their own countries.

Mexican Meddling

We have heard about Russian meddling in recent years. I don’t doubt there is some of that.

But any meddling perpetrated by the Russians is dwarfed by the widespread interference carried on by the Mexican government and its agents in the United States.

Mexico operates 52 consulates on U.S. soil. It’s the biggest consular network in the world. Yet you hardly hear of it.

It’s as if Americans don’t see Mexico as a country with its own interests, which can be opposed to those of the United States.

Immigration Motives

Americans have a very romanticized view of immigration. When I resided in Mexico, I came to understand that Mexicans see immigration differently than Americans do.

Americans see immigration to our country as a great honor. Look at what a great country we are, everybody in the world wants to come here and become an American.

But not everybody in the world sees it that way.

Mexicans sometimes told me they wanted to emigrate to the United States. Not one of them, however, told me he wanted to go the U.S. for freedom or to become an American.

They come here for the money, for the benefits.

With the current prevalence of dual citizenship, promoted by our own State Department, it’s easy to be a citizen of both the U.S. and Mexico, which makes it easier to milk those benefits!

Mexican Racial Stratification

Many Americans are unaware of the racial stratification of Mexican society. There are exceptions, but the richer Mexicans are, the more likely they are to be white, and the poorer they are, the more likely they are to be Indian.

Most Mexicans are mestizos, with both European and Indian ancestors. Even the mestizo majority forms a spectrum, including mestizos who are mostly white with a little Indian at one end, and also those who are Indian with a little white at the other end.

You see Mexico’s racial stratification reflected among Mexican immigrants. Yet we’re not supposed to talk about it.


According to the polls I’ve seen, Mexicans are happier on average than Americans. That’s what they tell pollsters. So why bring them all here?


It is not America’s job to reform or run Mexico. That approach is counter-productive.

Mexicans run their own country, that’s how it should be. We can’t expect Mexico to meet our expectations.

At the same time, we shouldn’t let the Mexican government try to run our immigration policy.

Good fences make good neighbors.

In order to truly understand Mexico, we have to approach it on its own terms, with its own culture and politics.

I invite readers of Border Hawk to visit my new website, the Mexico News Report, in which I intend to cover aspects of Mexican society that aren’t being covered by the U.S. mainstream media.

I think the more we truly understand Mexico the more we can make better policy decisions.

You can find more of Allan Wall's work at his website and Mexico News Report.

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