That negative perception about Mexico in the U.S. is based around a lack of knowledge about the reality on the ground, de la Madrid said. He added that he strongly feels that those negative perceptions are prevalent even among Mexican-Americans who share a deep connection with the country.

“Some of them are not that knowledgeable as one would expect,” de la Madrid said. “Probably they have their connections to where they come from, but many of them really have not traveled that much around.”

Citing the fact that about 9 percent of Mexico’s GDP comes from tourism, de la Madrid said he hopes Mexican-Americans will want to travel to south to support their fellow Mexicans employed by the tourism industry.

“Many people had to come [to the U.S.] because they didn’t have the type of conditions that they would have expected,” de la Madrid said. ‘Well, why not help other Mexicans to have the conditions that you didn’t have?”

For Torres, the wait has been long enough, and she hopes to travel to Mexico this summer, even if she needs some help getting around.  

“I can’t even speak Spanish,” Torres said. “I think that if I go back people will say ‘You’re not Mexican or American — you’re just in the middle.’ But I just don’t care anymore.”