Main menu

Weekly Chart: Separating Fact and Fiction in U.S. Views of Mexico

July 13, 2016

Trump said Mexico isn't sending its "best people" to the US. People of Mexican origin generate 8% of US GDP.
Republicans overwhelmingly view Mexico negatively, but Democrats are split on if Mexico is more partner or problem.

“The most dangerous worldview is the worldview of those who have not viewed the world.” So said nineteenth-century Prussian explorer Alexander von Humboldt, who spent years traveling through Latin America. Fast-forward to the current U.S. presidential race, tinged with anti-Mexican sentiment, and the quote rings true. A June survey by Vianovo and GSD&M found that Americans see Mexico as a source of problems more than a good neighbor. On the other hand, the portion of respondents who see Mexico in a positive light grows the more a person has traveled to the country.

Still, three times as many Americans say relations with Mexico worsened over the past four years compared to those who say they’ve improved. In fact, Republican candidate Donald Trump infamously launched his campaign by saying Mexico is “not our friend” and that “they’re not sending their best” people to the United States. This despite the fact that the population of Mexican origin—two-thirds of whom are U.S.-born—generates 8 percent of U.S. GDP, while Mexican immigrants own 570,000 U.S. companies, or one in 25 nationwide.

With that in mind, AS/COA Online dispels just some of the myths about bilateral ties and Mexican immigrants.