Arizona-Mexico Commission


>>José Cárdenas:
Good evening, I'm José Cárdenas. Welcome to "Horizonte." We'll talk about a plan to advance the Governor's trade and development agenda between Arizona and Mexico. Also, the debate on a bill that could allow English as the official language of government business in Arizona. And a unique team of students at Phoenix College, win a top national award. That's all coming up next on "Horizonte."

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>>José Cárdenas:
In tonight's headlines, Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard has ruled Proposition 200 will not apply to elections on March 8th. In a legal opinion, Goddard said the State must put regulations in place to train poll workers on new procedures and educate voters on the proper forms of identification to be presented at the polls.

>>José Cárdenas:
The Arizona-Mexico commission recently presented a strategic plan to the Governor and her cabinet. The goal of the plan is to continue to strengthen the economic relationship between Arizona, Mexico and Latin America. Joining us tonight to talk about specifics of the plan is Marco Lopez, Jr., Executive Director of the Arizona-Mexico commission. Marco thank you for joining us. The Arizona-Mexico commission has been around a long time. It's viewed as a model by other states and quite frankly countries, but it's not that well known within Arizona. Give us a little bit of background and the history of the commission.

>> Marco Lopez:
That's right, Jose. The commission has been around for 45 years now. It was first founded by Governor Paul Fannin and the Sonoran Governor, over a conference that both governors were at in Tucson. As a matter of fact, you are intimately familiar with the commission where you served as president for 8 years, and the commission really strives to strengthen and fortify that relationship between the states of Sonora, Mexico, and the State of Arizona. It is through the avenues of 10 working committees that range from education to healthcare to homeland security issues along the border that really helps strengthen the relationships between both states.

>>José Cárdenas:
What is the importance of the relationship between Arizona and Sonora?

>> Marco Lopez:
Governor Fannin said a very notable quote that we are familiar with within the Arizona-Mexico Commission. He said God made us neighbors, let us be good neighbors. It is under that relationship that we recognize the value of Mexico, of Sonora, Mexico partnering with Arizona. Sonora is the number one trade partner when we compare the imports and exports at the ports of entry between Sonora and Arizona. Last year, over $1.2 billion was left within the Arizona economy by shoppers who crossed the borders at one of the three ports of entries between Sonora and Arizona. So the economic impact is huge when you consider the relationship between -- and the proximity between both states.

>> José Cárdenas:
As I understand it, the influence that Arizona enjoys in part because of the Arizona-Mexico commission, extends well beyond Sonora into Mexico city. Can you comment a little bit about that?

>> Marco Lopez:
Absolutely when Governor Napolitano took office, one of her mandates was that we had already established a very good relationship with Sonora. And that the new challenge was to look beyond Sonora into Mexico and really beyond Mexico into all of Latin America to see what opportunities were out there, that we could provide a stronger foundation for Arizona's economy and our relationship with are partners in Mexico and beyond. Specifically, the Arizona Department of Commerce has an office in Guadalajara Mexico that really looks at opportunities for business and trade between Mexico. Specifically, again, Guadalajara, and the central part of Mexico, and we also have an office in Hermosillo, that, again, looks at strengthening the relationships between Sonora and then working with commerce so that we go beyond Sonora and look at the opportunities in all of Mexico.

>>José Cárdenas:
Hermosillo being the capital of Sonora and Guadalajara being described as the "Silicon Valley" of Mexico.

>> Marco Lopez:
It is a tremendous opportunity to tap into the technology sector in Guadalajara, because you're right, it is looked at as the up and coming, if not already there, hub for technology within Mexico.

>>José Cárdenas:
Now, as we've indicated, the commission last done fairly well for the last 45 years, but under the Governor's leadership, you are taking it to a new level and the strategic plan is part of that. Let's discuss the initiatives. As I understand, the first one is border infrastructure. What can you tell us about that?

>> Marco Lopez:
One of the primary areas where the State interacts with Sonora is along its border communities. I was previously the mayor of Nogales, Arizona.

>>José Cárdenas:
The youngest mayor.

>> Marco Lopez:
That's right. And I am in a unique position to know that sometimes border communities struggle, and the reason why we struggle is because we are 190 miles away from the capitol of the state where decisions are being made, economic division decisions, that effect those communities. With what the border initiative looks like is the Governor's calls to really coordinate the efforts of the State and look at the needs of our border communities. So the border infrastructure initiative looks to really do that. The first phase of that initiative looks at the ports of entry between Sonora and Arizona, specifically, it looks at San Luis, and it looks at Nogales and Douglas. What we have seen over the last three years has been of great concern to the State and to the Governor. We've seen that our position and our trade numbers between Mexico and Arizona have declined to other more aggressive ports of entry in Texas, in California, and even in New Mexico. And the reason being is because these other states have been able to aggressively identify and put together a funding package year after year and go lobby the federal government and the state government to really focus resources to their areas.

>>José Cárdenas:
And that leads us into the second initiative, governmental relations which will help you get that money? Tell bus that.

>> Marco Lopez:
Absolutely the first phase is to identify the issues and needs along the border. Once we have identified those issues, the government affairs initiative that the AMC is putting together is to really go after that funding. And we are working that issue, that initiative with the help of ASU. That is helping us put together a funding database that these communities once their needs are identified. Can be put together with the proper resources that are already out there, whether it be private monies through corporations, grants, through foundations, or federal monies, so that they can begin to write and seek those resources. And we're also putting together a list of grant writers that can help these communities, like Nogales, like San Luis and Douglas to put together the package and go after those numbers.

>>José Cárdenas:
I understand ASU and Thunderbird and U of A are also involved?

>> Marco Lopez:
The universities of Arizona in Tucson is helping us put together the infrastructure plan with each communities, and Thunderbird is helping us to put together the communications package that will help us do the necessary outreach with all of the constituents concerned.

>>José Cárdenas:
Marco, let's talk briefly about the points south of the border, particularly south of the border because that's particularly something Governor Napolitano brought that.

>> Marco Lopez:
The Governor was direct when she indicated that we wanted to move beyond Mexico. So we have partnered with the three institution that is I mentioned, ASU, U of A and Thunderbird to help put together a comprehensive review of what Latin American countries and their economies best fits with what is happening and the centers expanding within Arizona. They have already identified Chile as the country whose economy whose politics, whose currency is -- and a country that's more stable. And in the next months, we will do a thorough review and make the necessary outreach to that country so that we can identify. There is aerospace. We know that mining and the third sector of agriculture are closely expected what is going on in Arizona. So what we want to do now is find opportunities for companies that are in Arizona to look at Chile and do the opposite, look at Chile companies that want to do business in Arizona as well.

>>José Cárdenas:
What can we expect to see next in terms of the implementation of the plan?

>> Marco Lopez:
The next steps, the Governor has presented this to the cabinet. The cabinet is fully in support of what we are trying to do. The next step is to really get the community feedback. So we're going to be going out to the communities along the border, even Tucson and Yuma, and even Phoenix. So that we begin to work that is entailed in bringing all of these ideas and all of the needs together so that we can then go out and get the necessary resources.

>>José Cárdenas:
Marco Lopez thank you for joining us on "Horizonte" and good luck on your work there.

>> Marco Lopez:
Thank you.

>>José Cárdenas:
There is an English-only referendum being presented in state legislature that would allow voters to decide all government business be conducted in English. This week on "Horizon," Michael Grant talked about house concurrent resolution 2030 with Mesa representative Russell Pearce, who is one of the sponsors of the bill and Glendale representative Steve Gallardo.

>> Michael Grant:
Representative Pearce, you call this "official English" we just saw "English only" what do you think is the difference?

>> Russell Pearce:
Well, there is a lot of difference. It doesn't prohibit communications in other languages. What it does is require the government, though, to conduct the official record has to be in English, and that we stop producing brochures in every other language. There is 329 different languages spoken in the United States. And there is actually 26 states that currently have some form of official English, and again, like president Teddy Roosevelt said. There is one thing that binds us together as a nation, because we're a diverse nation, but it's our English. It's the assimilation. It's the process where we become Americans, and English is one of the greatest ways to do that, is to make sure we come here -- we know in order to be successful, you have to learn English. We all know that. 8 out of 10 immigrants say, yes, English is absolutely critical.

>> Michael Grant:
How do we advance that goal, though, by having "official English" providing that a bill has to be written in English, which last time I checked is in fact how is it done? How are we advancing that goal?

>>Russell Pearce:
That's a good question, because if we don't provide -- require, if you will, that official business be done in English, what we do is we get where we can ban thinks in other languages. We use a crutch because we can continue to put out stuff in other languages, and today, one of the challenges is that people come here today and they demand services in another language. I mean, you have a right to come here if you come here legally, but you don't have a right to come here and demand that you get services in another language. This is America. We decided over 200 years ago that we ought to speak English. That's been decided. Now we need to codify that, apparently because we have --

>> Michael Grant:
Give me an example of how that happens, and --

>> Russell Pearce:
In terms of?

>> Michael Grant:
What's being printed now.

>> Russell Pearce:
Hundreds of documents in other languages, primarily Spanish. Hundreds of documents.

>> Michael Grant:
Such as?

>> Russell Pearce:
Materials sent home from school. Records are recorded, drivers license manuals being done in multiple languages, including Spanish and English. There is lots of issues. This is America. Come here and speak English. You have to assimilate. Assimilation is critical if you want to become an American and prosper in America.

>> Michael Grant:
Representative Gallardo. Let me pull you into the conversation. What's wrong?

>> Steve Gallardo:
Currently it's in our constitution. The constitution recognizes English as the official language. The initiative that Mr. Pearce has, the courts have lured ruled. The courts have lured ruled that English may be the official language of the State of Arizona, but it cannot be the only language. That you cannot cut off access to government for our citizens, that we have to be able to be able to allow them to seek assistance through our state government. I would agree with Mr. Pearce, English is the official language. I would also agree that I believe he would agree with me that people who come to our country want to know the language. They are working to assimilate in our community. They want to learn the English language. They know in order to be successful in our country, they have to master that English language. This particular initiative does nothing but divide our community continually. English is already recognized in our country as the official language. This does nothing to assist folks in learning English.

>> Michael Grant:
Representative Pearce, I think, maintains that it doesn't help someone, it doesn't encourage someone to integrate, to learn English, by, for example, giving them a driver's license manual in Spanish.

>> Steve Gallardo:
Well, there's already an educational component that we have right now in our society. There are folks that are trying to learn English as we speak. This particular initiative takes out an education component that the 1988 version had. This particular initiative that Mr. Pearce hazardous nothing to assist or help folks to assimilate in our community. So, if it does anything, it blocks access to government for folks that otherwise should be entitled to it just because they are not mastering the language.

>> Michael Grant:
You say not true, how so?

>> Steve Gallardo:
No, it's not. It's very clear -- and there is an amendment that's prepared to clarify the provision. It's very clear in the official English initiative referendum, if you will, that makes it very clear. You can conduct business in any language necessary for health and safety, to maintain like the native language cull choose, for the deaf and the blind, for any purpose that's legitimate, you can communicate. What you can't do is have the official record and continue to cost taxpayers bunches of money and get people a crunch not to have to learn English. You can communicate. The parts that the Supreme Court struck down that you mentioned earlier absolutely have been fixed in this. The reason they struck that down wasn't because official English is unconstitutional, the way it was written, they thought it would prohibit a government employee from communicating in another language. This doesn't do that.

>> Michael Grant:
What drew your attention to this at this time? I mean, I think most people don't perceive it as a large problematic issue. Why --

>> Russell Pearce:
82 to 58% of the people in America believe in official English. A recent poll done at this station had it at about 70% in Arizona that agree with official English. We are having immigration, a mass numbers, never before known in this country's history that is threatening the assimilation process. So it is time to step up because they are coming here today and demanding services in other than English. They demand. I can tell you, I have many, many instances that have been brought to my attention. It's just clear that we codify, make it clear that if you come to America, you need to speak English. It's good for everybody and it is truly a binding -- it binds us together. I think it's good for us.

>> Steve Gallardo:
I would have to really disagree with what representative Pearce is stating right now. Our country is a melting pot. Our state is a melting pot. It does not mean that people have to melt their language or their culture or their customs. We have a tradition in our state to pass down our cultures and customs to our children in order to -- so they can be able to appreciate their history. Folks are not coming to this country to demand that services be provided in their language. We are supplying this to the people of our state in order to help them assimilate in our society. They are not here coming to our country, not wanting to learn the language. They are coming to our country to provide a better life for themselves. I believe this particular issue is already settled from the 1988 initiative. We already recognize English as the official language, and this does nothing to assimilate our folks from other countries into our society.

>> Russell Pearce:
Not true. We know that.

>> Steve Gallardo:
And, plus, the initiative was very divisive in 1988. It barely passed by 1% of the electorate. I believe that should this get on the ballot, you are going to see, again, a very divisive issue that is going to divide our state.

>>José Cárdenas:
For the third year in a row, the Phoenix College model United Nations team beat out other top colleges and universities for the best overall delegation award. This year's team is also unique because some of the delegates are from Latin American countries. Joining us is Dr. Albert Celoza. Dr. Celoza is the department chair for Phoenix College liberal arts department. He is also the team adviser. Also joining us is student team member Henry Alzate. Gentlemen, thank you for joining us on "Horizonte."

>> Both: Thank you.

>>José Cárdenas Jose Cardenas: You're welcome. Tell us about the United Nations model team. What is this about?

>> Albert Celoza: The model united nation social security assimilation of the real United Nations. We have the possibility of representing 191 is countries in our meetings. We study the history, the social political economic background of all of these countries, and then more importantly, the issues that are confronting them in the United Nations. And so in these discussions the students debate, and they put together resolutions through the problems that confront the problems and hopefully agree on implementing these resolutions. It is a way of simulating the real United Nations and it's an educational tool whereby most of our students get a good understanding of the world.

>>José Cárdenas:
In the introduction, we noted that this is the third year in a row you won best delegation, but it's actually quite a winning streak. You've won it at least four times before that.

>> Albert Celoza:
Back in 1988, I said we should attend international conferences. We participated in the conference in New York, which is the national conference, and for six years we participated at Harvard, the model United Nations at Harvard. So all of these conferences, I'm so proud that Phoenix College students showed what they can really do, and I'm really proud of their excellent participation.

>>José Cárdenas:
Speaking of Harvard, when we said before that Phoenix College is beating other top universities, Harvard is one of them; right?

>> Albert Celoza:
Yes.

>>José Cárdenas:
And northwestern and other top schools in the country.

>> Albert Celoza:
Yes.

>>José Cárdenas:
Why is that?

>> Albert Celoza:
It is a gathering of a group of students who are totally dedicated to learning about the countries and really working in a team, and then putting all of their efforts and their talent towards this particular team. And then, of course, going to the conference fully dedicated that they will be there present and they will do what they are supposed to do and fulfill their mission.

>>José Cárdenas:
This year's team is almost a mini United Nations in itself.

>> Albert Celoza:
Yes.

>>José Cárdenas:
Can you tell us about the background of the team members?

>> Albert Celoza:
This is a unique team. We have a member from Columbia. We have a member from Canada, from Mexico, and from Guatemala. And then, of course, there is diversity, also among those people born in the United States. And so the process of learning, the process of doing model UN was a cross-cultural experience by itself.

>>José Cárdenas:
Henry, you are the member from Colombia; correct?

>> Henry Alzate:
Yes.

>>José Cárdenas:
Tell us how you got involved.

>> Henry Alzate:
I was a student who had participated with Dr. Celoza, he told me, we're writing a resolution to solve the problem of nuclear weapons all over the world, and I thought what a complicated issue. And how can you say to me that students are going to get together and talk about this, only politicians talk about this. And he said well, we're going to be politicians one day, so that's why we like to for now participate and learn, and I got curious. And later on, I was in one of Dr. Celoza's classes, and then I participated in the Phoenix College model of the United Nations, and I was selected to participate in the national model of the United Nations.

>>José Cárdenas:
Tell us about the preparation for participation in the national conference.

>> Henry Alzate:
The preparation is quite intense. It demands that, you know, that one go and read newspapers every day to find out what is going on, to keep oneself current on events and read many books and search out the particular policy that one is going to represent.

>>José Cárdenas:
And that country was the Holy See, the Vatican; is that right?

>> Henry Alzate:
Yes that's right. We had to represent the Holy See, we had a governmental aspect of the Holy See and the religious part of it and how that plays out in the world of politics.

>>José Cárdenas:
That would be a unique circumstance and pretty challenging. Tell us about -- give us an example of one of the major issues that you dealt with as the Holy See, the representatives in the United Nations.

>> Henry Alzate:
One of the major issues is to balance faith with politics. That's one of the major issues with the Holy See. In fact, many nations don't want the Holy See to be in the United Nations, because they view the Holy See as a religious state, and therefore, when the Holy See tries to use morals in the context of, for example, HIV prevention.

>>José Cárdenas:
Dr. Celoza how does the Holy See team win the overall delegation awards?

>> Albert Celoza:
The first part is that the students as delegates have to perform well in each of the committees, and so Henry was in the legal committee. And that's a challenge for all of our delegates last year was that as a representative of the Holy See, they could not vote. They could only use the power of influence in situations. So we didn't really have any votes at all. So -- and so they had to be extra articulate and have to be persuasive. And then as Henry said, there are some delegations who would like the Holy See out. You are a religious entity, and you are for a particular religion, so they had to somehow prevent the rising tide of all of this opposition. Then the other thing is that for one to be delegated -- for one to be voted best delegation, there is a vote of the entire conference, and there were --

>>José Cárdenas:
You mean the other delegates vote?

>> Albert Celoza:
And there were 2000 participates and they have to think and grant the respect that we feel that Phoenix College is the best delegation in this conference.

>>José Cárdenas:
Now, you won this last year, but more recently, in fact, earlier this week, you had a visit from a former UN official. Can you tell us about that?

>> Albert Celoza:
That was a very good event for all of us. This Gillion Sorenson was the undersecretary of the United Nations, the undersecretary general of the United Nations. She worked with Boutrous-Boutrous Ghali, and the currently secretary general Kofi Annan. Her speech in a way said that we are the remaining super power, the United States, we are to consider the interests of all other countries. We cannot just simply bully other nations and use our hard power and she said we ought to use soft power, power of persuasion, power of the media and power of our culture, and all other considerations must be taken other than just the use of guns and weapons.

>>José Cárdenas:
Good advice for next year's team.

>> Albert Celoza:
I think it would be very good.

>>José Cárdenas:
Good luck on next year's entry. Gentlemen, thank you both for joining us on "Horizonte."

>> Both:
Thank you.

>>José Cárdenas:
You can visit our web site at www.azpbs.org and click on "Horizonte" to see transcripts or information about upcoming shows. Thank you for joining us tonight. I'm José Cárdenas. Have a good evening.

The Arizona-Mexico Commission (AMC) is a cross-border organization focusing on Arizona’s relationship with Mexico. They provide leadership that improves the region and deliver opportunities, services and initiatives for business and personal growth. Executive Director Marco A. Lopez Jr., will talk about the Commission’s Strategic plan for this year.

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In this segment:

Marco Lopez, Jr.: Executive Director, Arizona-Mexico commission;

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