Mexican Consulates Launch 'Defense Centers' For Immigrant Rights
The Mexican consulate in San Diego on Friday announced its participation in a national initiative to boost awareness among Mexican immigrants about their rights.
The initiative, called the Mexican Defense Center, expands the consulate's existing resources, such as private consultations and free informational workshops organized in churches, schools and other community centers.
A network of 50 Mexican consulates across the country will be launching those defense centers. The one in San Diego includes a white stand within the consulate on India Street where immigrants can get pamphlets and ask representatives for help.
"We're going to bring advice, we're going to inform our people through different workshops such as Know Your Rights and legal screenings," said Marcela Celorio, Mexico's consul general in San Diego, during a press conference at the consulate.
Celorio explained that by "legal screenings" she meant private consultations. She emphasized that all help will be in accordance with U.S. and Mexican laws.
The initiative includes a "Somos Mexicanos," or "We Are Mexicans" component to help immigrants with the transition to Mexico if they would like to return or must return to their home country.
Local organizations offering services and information on immigration:
ACLU San Diego (619-232-2121)
Casa Cornelia (619-231-7788)
Budget Immigration Center (858-550-0121)
Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans (PANA) (619-732-6793)
International Rescue Committee (619-641-7510)
Earlier this year, Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto gave a billion pesos, or about $51 million, to the 50 Mexican consulates in the U.S. to help them protect Mexicans in response to President Trump's immigration proposals. That means each consulate got about $1 million.
"The 50 consulates in the U.S. will transform into authentic defenders of migrant rights," said Peña Nieto. "Our communities are not alone. The Mexican government will give them legal advice that will guarantee them the protection they require."
Tensions between the U.S. and Mexico have escalated in recent months due largely to President Trump's claims that Mexico will pay for the U.S.-Mexico border wall. A meeting between Peña Nieto and Trump was canceled due to an argument on Twitter regarding the payment for the wall.