JANUARY 26, 2010
The Mexican government’s new representative in Dallas has devised a plan to give the area’s half a million illegal aliens an image makeover that will shed their tainted reputations as noisy litterers who celebrate with guns and leave kids at home unsupervised.
The goal, according to the Mexican consul general, is for the compatriots who live illegally in his Texas consular region to earn the respect of Americans who see them as a nuisance to their country. The undocumented Mexicans have a bad reputation, said Consul General Juan Carlos Cue-Vega, and its time for an image makeover.
"Frankly, we have spoken about the issues that make us not look very good, like celebrations using guns, littering, [being] noisy in the neighborhoods, leaving the kids at home while going to work,” the consul told the local newspaper. “These are social and cultural things that we need to change. We have to educate our people … to respect the law."
The consul says Mexican President Felipe Calderón shares his concerns, though neither would reveal if the compatriots are being lectured on violating U.S. immigration laws by entering the country in the first place. The consul prefers to focus on improving the reputation of the hard workers who were lured north by jobs but simply haven’t adapted to the culture.
The Mexican official has launched his makeover campaign by visiting centers—some financed with U.S. tax dollars—throughout the area that cater to illegal aliens and, in some cases, offer them a variety of social services. He will also meet with police and neighborhood code enforcement officers who can clarify the sorts of behaviors that create negative stereotypes of Mexicans.
This is hardly the first time that Mexico’s government dedicates resources to help its citizens living illegally in the U.S. A few years ago it published a 32-page handbook (“The Guide for the Mexican Migrant”) with safety tips for Mexicans attempting to cross the U.S. border illegally. It features everything from the best way to cross the Rio Grande into Texas to avoiding dehydration in the Arizona desert and migrants’ legal rights in the U.S.
Mexico also distributed hand-held satellite devices to ensure its citizens safely completed their journey north. The satellite tracking service helps rescue those who get lost or become sick crossing the dessert to illegally enter the U.S. through a number of border crossings. Any Mexican headed north was able to obtain the device from government authorities who estimate that they distributed about 200,000.
Mexico’s government also operates a program (Ventanillas de Salud or Health Windows) in about a dozen American cities that refers its nationals to publicly-funded health care centers where they can get free medical care without being turned over to immigration authorities. Chicago, Houston, Los Angeles and San Diego are among the cities where Mexican consulates operate the health referral system which annually costs U.S. taxpayers billions of dollars. .
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