Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Renewed focus on Mexican immigrants living in U.S.


Dr. Angela Valenzuela sitting in Mexico's House of Representatives

Students, I had the privilege of attending el “Primer Parlamento de Líderes Migrantes en Estados Unidos” and I got this article published in a Texas newspaper, the Rio Grande Guardian. -Dra. Valenzuela


Renewed focus on Mexican immigrants living in U.S.
By Dr. Angela Valenzuela

MEXICO CITY, November 19 - This has been a momentous week for Mexican immigrants living in the United States. Two separate, high-profile, meetings took place with U.S.-immigrant leadership in Mexico in order to develop policy in response to the raids, mass deportations of Mexican nationals, and U.S. immigration policy, in general.

The first involved a meeting of advisors (“consejeros”) to the Institute of Mexicans Abroad (Instituto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior or IME), which is a federal agency within the Department of Foreign Relations and the second, a Congressionally-sponsored convening of approximately 600 immigrant leaders representing numerous associations of immigrants living throughout the U.S. and Canada.

In both meetings, immigrant leaders particularly called for an energetic response by the Mexican government to comprehensively address the surging humanitarian crisis borne by thousands of individuals whose lives have been traumatized by the current wave of mass deportations. Their litany of concerns included human and civil rights violations like warrantless home invasions, increasing numbers of border deaths, ineffective consulate offices, lengthy detentions together with familial separation and a loss of contact with relatives, and resulting economic and psychological hardship for the repatriated deportees, many of whom are children.

In both meetings, immigrant leaders called for funds to pay for legal assistance, including the establishment of an anti-defamation league whose first action will be to demand punishments for defamation and libel. Alonso Flores, President of the IME’s Commission for Media Dissemination, expressed the following in Spanish to “La Opinion,” a leading Mexican newspaper: “It’s nothing new: the Jews have done this, the African Americans and gays, and we had not done this. But enough is enough. They call us thieves, ignorant, useless and that we represent a public ‘charge.’ It’s not true. We give them our best.”

In his address to the 100 members of the IME, President Felipe Calderón expressed the government’s obligation to promote public policies that promote quality of life for immigrants abroad. Calderón further informed the group of his approval of next year’s budget. He said it reflects the government’s dedication to addressing the migration problem by including 163 million pesos for Mexican consulates and 670 million pesos for consular services.

Another measure is a federal-level campaign intended to sensitize North American citizens about the success stories, as well as social and economic contributions that Mexicans have made to the U.S. A highlight of his address that drew a standing ovation from the audience was when Calderón unveiled an initiative to create help centers close to the border for repatriates, particularly for children. In Spanish, Calderón stated: “My government will not rest until we have achieved full recognition and respect for the rights of Mexicans in the exterior.”

Undoubtedly, the most significant event of the week was the convening of approximately 600 immigrant leaders in the Mexican House of Representatives in order to form the “Primer Parlamento de Líderes Migrantes en Estados Unidos” (First Parliament of Migrant Leaders in the United States) that consists of immigrant leadership in Mexico, the U.S., and Canada. An organizing committee comprised of delegates from throughout the U.S. was formed and its first task is to plan a constitutional assembly that will take place within the U.S. This parliament is a permanent, non-partisan, bi-national, independent body that will develop policies and lobby for the rights of Mexican immigrants before Congress in both the U.S. and Mexico.

Drawing loud applause from audience members, members of Mexico’s Congress announced a new development, namely, to modify the Mexican Constitution in order to create a Secretary of State focused on attending to the needs of migrants and their families.

In response to the expressed allegation by Representative Dolores González of the Partido Acción Nacional (PAN) that the government sponsorship of this event was really a partisan ploy by the Partido de la Revolución Democrático (PRD) —Mexico’s anti- Calderón, leftist party to violate the sovereignty of U.S. immigration law—PRD Congressman José Jacques Medina flatly rejected this claim.

In Spanish, he told the audience: “They’re telling us here that this is a forced birth, hog-tied, and partisan, that 70 or 80 percent of you are partisan, that you belong to the PRD, PAN o PRI (Partido Revolucionario Institucional). There is nothing that [these parties] can do in U.S. territory. But a party created in defense of our nationality, a party called ‘Mexico,’ is what we are trying to create here. This congress is creating that party.” In response, the crowd cheered: “Sin-fron-teras / sin-fron-teras” (“No borders”) and “sí-se-pudo / sí-se-pudo” (“yes, we could”).

With a thusly empowered and legitimated Mexican immigrant leadership, an internationalization of the struggle for immigrants’ human rights has begun.

Dr. Angela Valenzuela is Associate Vice President for University Partnerships within the Office of Diversity and Community Engagement at the University of Texas at Austin where she also teaches in the Departments of Curriculum and Instruction and Educational Administration.

Valenzuela is currently a Fulbright García Robles Scholar with an affiliation at the University of Guanajuato where she is also teaching and developing a blog on U.S.-Mexico relations http://usmexico.blogspot.com/. She is currently conducting research in the intersecting areas of immigration, human rights, and binational relations between the U.S. and Mexico.

© Copyright of the Vox Veritas Corporation dba Rio Grande Guardian, www.riograndeguardian.com;
Melinda Barrera, President, 2007. All rights reserved.

http://www.riograndeguardian.com/breakingnews.asp

4 comments:

Luis González said...

SIN DUDA QUE NOS ENCONTRAMOS ANTE UN ACONTECIMIENTO HISTORICO, EN HORA BUENA PARA TODOS LO S MIGRANTES Y MIL FELICITACIONES A LA DR. VALENZUELA POR SU ENORME LABOR EN LA REALIZACION DEL MISMO OJALA Y ESTE ORGANISMO TENGA ENTRE SUS VIRTUDES SER UN ORGANO PARCIAL Y TOTALMENTA APEGADO A LOS PRINCIPALES DERECHOS DE LAS PERSONAS, QUE CONSTITUYA REALMENTE UN VINCULO DE APOYO PARA TODOS NUESTROS HERMANOS MIGRANTES.
ESTOY ENTUSIASMADO,CREO QUE ESTAMOS ANTE UN GRAN TIEMPO Y QUE EXISTEN AUN MUCHAS COSAS POR HACER Y SI ESTE PARALAMENTO VA SER PRINCIPAL PROMOTOR DE TODAS ESTAS BUENAS INTENCIONES. ENHORABUENA Y ADELANTE MUCHOS MEXICANOS LOS NECESITAN Y PORQUE NO? QUIZAS LOS AMERICANOS TAMBIEN

Course taught by Angela Valenzuela said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Course taught by Angela Valenzuela said...

Gracias, Luis. Sí, este acontecimieto es verdaderamente historico.

Jackie said...

No tenía idea de que existiera este organismo, me da gusto saberlo y que se difunda así.
Igualmente felicito a la Dra. Valenzuela, en lo personal me da gusto saber de extranjeros que disfrutan de nuestro país.