By Guillermo Rojas | TULSA, OK
Alfredo Perez works at the Mexican Consulate in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he oversees the “Consulate on Wheels” program that brings a wide range of consular services to Mexican nationals living too far away to easily visit the consulate in person.
As the mobile consulate prepared to set up shop in Tulsa for another week, Perez spoke with La Semana about the consular mission and the needs of the Mexican expatriate community in Tulsa.
“We offer services of documentation, issuing passports and consular identification, throughout this consulate’s jurisdiction, which includes all of Arkansas, all of Oklahoma, and the western part of Tennessee,” Perez explained.
Asked what the Mexican government is doing to protect its citizens living in the United States during a time when many are targeted by the Trump administration, Perez said above all they offer a presence and a helping hand all across the country.
“We have 50 consulates here in the United States,” Perez said. “The [Mexican] Ministry of Foreign Affairs has instructed us to follow all the news so as quickly as we learn of a planned raid in our jurisdiction we inform them, but as of this Monday, July 15, there haven’t yet been any big raids. The work of ICE has been the same.”
Perez said they are asking Mexican citizens living in the U.S. without documentation to keep calm, not to get nervous, but to take precautions.
“We are recommending that they come to us and get an official Mexican ID, that is important, and also to get a power of attorney,” Perez said. “We hope nothing happens, but if it does, they have the chance for a person they know and trust to deal with their bank accounts and their kids, someone who will know what to do in case they get deported.”
Perez stressed that these are recommendations the consulate makes all the time, not just during this particular period of threatened raids.
Perez said the Department of Protection in the Mexican Consulate keeps an open channel of communication with local law enforcement, so they will know if something happens to those Mexicans living in the consulate’s jurisdiction.
“As law enforcement agencies, the Sheriff’s Office and the Police Department have a duty to inform us in case they detain a Mexican national,” Perez said. “This is under international treaties signed by Mexico and the United States. So when a Mexican national is taken into custody, with their permission law enforcement notifies us and that’s when we can help.”
Perez explained that this help can be in the form of visiting Mexicans in jail or detention centers and making sure their rights are being upheld.
This week the mobile consulate will be helping Mexican citizens at St. Francis Xavier church in Tulsa, operating from Tuesday through Sunday.
“We will serve about 1,000 Mexicans in Tulsa this week,” Perez said, adding that the most commonly requested service is to issue passports, birth certificates, and consular identifications.
For more information, visit https://consulmex.sre.gob.mx/littlerock or call 501-372-6933. (La Semana)