And there it is. No one is legal, right? Except...
My point is that, because of business interests, the US has had wide open borders with Mexico for decades.
And unlike other waves of immigrants, that all arrived in a short period of time and went through the normal three-generation integration, Mexicans went back and forth, some arriving for good and never going back and integrating; some going back and forth, maintaining family in both countries; and some who never wanted to become Americans, just wanting to earn money here for a while to send back to their family before going home.
Thus we had all three generations at the same time: “old world”, “neither American nor old world” (usually the most troublesome generation), and “fully integrated”, keeping only cultural vestiges of the old country, like silly hyphenated ethnic descriptions. But also a fourth type not found in other immigrations: temporary foreign workers.
It made the entire idea of immigration totally muddy and confused. A great example is Cesar Chavez and his United Farm Workers Union, who were all Mexican-American citizens and bitterly opposed to illegal alien Mexican workers, getting into riotous fights with them. Zero “Mexican solidarity” there. But the farmers went to lengths to get illegals, because they were a lot cheaper.
One of the great untold stories about Mexicans entering the US is how many businesses lobbied so intensely to permit it and continue it.
Adding to that, the “internationalist” interests also wanted extensive Mexican integration, which peaked when former Coca-Cola executive, Mexican president Vincente Fox, joined with W. Bush to create the Pan Puebla Panama. The concept was to depopulate southern Mexico, sending the people who lived there north to the US, then turning it into a giant regional transportation hub for shipping, rail, and air cargo transport, for the Americas.
The US part of the PPP was the north south transport corridor, dividing the US in half in the middle, with a giant highway from Mexico to Canada and enormous rail corridors on both the West and East Coasts parallel to it. The first part of the central highway was to begin with the Trans-Texas corridor that pretty much blew up because the Texans wanted nothing to do with it and refused to cooperate.
Eventually, W. Bush hoped this would result in an “American Union”, of all the Americas, modeled after the European Union. But all that came of it was a quintupling of the number of illegal Mexican aliens crossing the border into the US.
Because conservatives have for so long been so staunchly opposed to illegal aliens in the US, W. Bush and all the interests backing him tried to keep it as low key as possible. But Bush got about everything he wanted to bring the plan to fruition. Relaxed rules about eminent domain, presidential waivers to infrastructure construction projects, a national internal transportation police structure, the TSA, as part of the creepily named DHS, etc.
And all the demands to control illegal immigrations were met with strongest support from those most *opposed* to a closed border; whose efforts were to sabotage immigration control from within, to make it impossible.
In light of all this, oddly enough, the Mexicans, legal and illegal, were just pawns in the game. But to a great extent they adapted and overcame, at least somewhat, but America is left with them as detritus: What do you do with a people, many of whom are legal, but many of whom are illegal, who were brought here to exploit, and are now stuck in legal limbo?