I’ll add to that last post that the safety net in Mexico was not the govenment. Outside of Social Security, which is socialized medicine and hospital insurance, the government is not expected to help much. The safety net I always saw was the family—the extended family. If a member of the family needed help, someone in the family would be expected to take care of it. We had a designated homemaker–the grandmother—who had a meal on the table every day and took care of the children who weren’t in school so the others could work. We had one in a private university, and the whole family paid a portion of his tuition and examined his report cards. The family was very tight knit and always spent holidays and weekends together.
The truly poor often attatched themselves to a family that was doing better. Maybe they were friends, "comadres" or "compadres", or employed in the household and therefore part of the family.
That said, at that time there were always homeless sleeping in the streets in the cities. For whatever reason, they had come to the city looking for a better life. Only the really brave ventured noth to the U.S. off the farms if they didn’t know anyone else who had done it–and they usually didn’t take their families. They were people who really knew what povery was.