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Consulate of Mexico in SD Holds Citizen Consultatory Forum

April 4, 2019

By Mario A. Cortez

IME Director Roberto Valdovinos

Abiding by the 10-point initiative to assist Mexicans abroad presented by Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard this week, the Consulate of Mexico in San Diego held its first-ever open forum as part of a series which seeks to bring Mexicans abroad to participate in Mexico’s current National Development Plan.

Throughout the approximately-three-hour session, topics relevant to citizen’s rights, health and welfare, and economic development were discussed. Attendees included members of nonprofits, professionals, activists, and other Mexicans who also sought to contribute their comments.

“The goal is to involve communities in the development of Mexico and in the political change that is taking place,” said Roberto Valdovinos, head of the Institute for Mexicans Abroad (IME), who initiated the forum and registered comments with members of his work team. “Forums have been held before, but none with the goal of taking the suggestions of (foreign) communities of Mexicans into the National Development Plan.”

Through his National Development Plan, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador can set strategies and prioritize action to ensure the country’s development. Generally this document is drawn up within the first six months of the president’s six-year term and remains in effect for the remainder of the term.

“It is the most important document of the administration. All public policies, from those of a very small office to those of an entire department, are based on the National Development Plan and through this document you establish which goals are going to be fulfilled,” Valdovinos explained.

He also pointed out that due to Lopez Obrador and Ebrard’s interest in the over 11 million Mexicans living in the United States, the deadline for these forums was extended in order to interact with Mexicans residing north of the border so they are integrated into the plan.

Among the thoughts and suggestions shared by the public were creating a personal file for all Mexicans abroad, better training for consular staff in legal matters, granting greater funds to legal representation programs, speeding up slow bureaucratic processes, and improving communication with the community, among others.

Hugo Castro, an activist for migrant rights, said that this forum is an opportunity to improve collaboration with organizations such as the ones he works with.

“The consulates need to know the difficulties from our point of view; and many of the decisions that are made affecting migrants are made from far away in central Mexico, without knowing about the region’s issues, and that results in badly spent money,” he said.

Lawyer Dulce García said that the same Mexicans who have been victims of the rhetoric of U.S. President Donald Trump can directly demand from consul generals and the leader of the IME to take a firmer stance against Trump’s statements.

“Our own Mexican government sometimes seems to be allied with the U.S. government on immigration issues,” she said. “When it comes to cross-border trade we love cooperation, but when it comes to immigration, I would like Mexico’s position to be stronger in our favor.”

The San Diego forum was the eighth of the current series. Mexican consulates in San Francisco, Sacramento, Fresno, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, and Los Angeles have already held their respective forums. Phoenix, Tucson, El Paso, Chicago, and New York will be the sites of upcoming forums.

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