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McALLEN, RGV – The Mexican Consulate in McAllen has announced the inauguration of a defense center dedicated to helping Mexican nationals living in the United States.

The instruction to start a defense program came from the Mexican Government.

On Friday morning, Mexico Consul Guillermo Ordorica Robles and the “ventanilla de defensoria,” the team which will assist Mexican nationals, presented the “Centro de Defensoria Migratoria”. Sister Norma Pimentel, of Catholic Charities RGV, a representative from the Guatemala Consul, ARISE community activist Ramona Casas, and Mexican nationals were present.

Guillermo Ordorica Robles

“This is a Mexican presidential mandate alerting us consuls to amplify the effort in benefiting our Mexican nationals,” Ordorica said.

“The idea of this center is to guarantee that all Mexican nationals who come to us have all the necessary elements, so that if, at any point, it is required from them to present documentation about their Mexican identity to U.S. law enforcement, they can do so.”

The defense center has been inaugurated in the 50 Mexican consulates within the United States. The centers will provide information workshops, workshops on migratory opportunities, and promote the idea of obtaining a dual nationality.

Ordorica says the center’s development had already begun, but recent events have forced the service to accelerate its inauguration.

“It is a center of defense that offers something that was already in play, but has been strengthened,” he said.

“The objective, I insist, it is to reinforce and provide information about what we have been doing and present it as a great package for the defense of the migrant.”

The ‘Centro de Defensoria’ will assist Mexican nationals obtain nationality certificates, birth certificates, a matricula consular, and documents which are needed in order to prove their identity.

“We are doing this to let them know that it is best for them to be documented with their Mexican identity in the U.S., rather than not having a passport or matricula consular, or another identification method,” Ordorica stated.

After the presentation, ARISE’s Casas expressed her gratitude to the Mexico Consul for a service she believes will greatly aid the Mexican community.

“I want to thank you for your good work for the communities and organizations like ARISE, that you are presenting this information for the families and the colonias,” she said.

In an interview with the Rio Grande Guardian, Casas said that information workshops have helped address the concerns of the community at a time of great uncertainty for immigrants. She said the uncertainty, if not outright fear, has been caused by the comments towards Mexico and Mexicans by President Trump.

“The community feels good about having this service, they have asked a lot of questions, and the consulate is always willing to answer the community’s questions,” Casas said.

“All of this preparation and information is most needed because the community is confused about the changes this administration has made.”

Ramona Casas

Casas said that although more help has been provided, the community still feels uncomfortable to go seek aid at the Mexican Consulate in McAllen.

“The communities still do not feel comfortable in coming to the consulate, they still think it is American territory and they feel intimidated, but through ARISE we are trying to collaborate with the consulate to educate people in their community.”

Casas explained that ARISE members and their families live in colonias such as Las Milpas and Alamo. Such areas are considered home, whereas McAllen is a more dangerous place to visit.

Sister Norma Pimentel, said the Consul has been working closely with the Respite Center in McAllen that Catholic Charities RGV runs.

“The Consul is always in contact with me to see what way he can help me in answering to the community, he is always attentive to help us and we work together.”

Following the event, in-print information about Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA), Consulate contact information, workshop information, and step-by-step procedures was distributed to attendees.

“This paperwork will give information about what to do in case someone is detained, what to say, what documentation to present, and where to go in case of an emergency,” Ordorica said.

In an interview after the inauguration, Ordorica invited Mexican nationals to “spread the word” about the new service and seek help from the Consulate.

“We invite you to look for us, to knock on our door when you need help and call our telephone lines, so that you feel sheltered by us,” he said.

“Today’s world is a world of migrants. Today’s world is globally interconnected. We have a great team for protection with much experience in one of the most important Mexican Consulates on the border.

“This is something to take pride in. To be able to provide precise help to Mexican nationals living outside of the country, who have always been a priority for Mexico.”