SB 1070 Ruling

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Consul General of Mexico in Phoenix Victor Manuel Treviño Escudero talks about the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on SB 1070.

Richard Ruelas: The U.S. Supreme Court made its ruling on SB 1070 more than a week ago, but it still continues to be a big part of the immigration debate both here and in Mexico. Joining me to talk about the decision is the Consul General of Mexico here in Phoenix, Victor Manuel Treviño Escudero. Sir, thank you for joining me this evening.

Victor Manuel Treviño Escudero: Thank you, Richard. Good evening.

Richard Ruelas: What are you hearing at the office from residents of Mexico who are contacting you?

Victor Manuel Treviño Escudero: Well, as general, the Mexican Consul represents the Mexican government here in Arizona. We have five consulates here in the state. We're here to enhance our relationship for those to attend our community here, the Mexican and the Mexican-American community in Phoenix and in the seven counties north of Arizona.

Richard Ruelas: Have you been receiving a higher number of calls of people asking questions about documents since this Supreme Court ruling came in?

Victor Manuel Treviño Escudero: Well, I continue working, business as usual but people need to be informed about what will be the impact of this decision of the Supreme Court, particularly the section 2B.

Richard Ruelas: What do you think the impact will be on the people you represent here in Arizona?

Victor Manuel Treviño Escudero: Well, if we consider what was the situation in 2010, the people will represent some fear when they access the Mexican Consulate, and right now the difference is that they want to have more information, what will be the position of the laws and particularly the situation with the law enforcement authorities in terms of if they will be asking for the papers or not and what will be the proper steps that they have to take and if they have that situation.

Richard Ruelas: Do you expect you're going to be called more often with families of people who have been arrested or been detained? Do you anticipate you're going to get more calls as this law goes into effect, when this law goes into effect?

Victor Manuel Treviño Escudero: No. Not really. We have had an 800 number 24 hours, and we have until now in the same level. We are promoting community forums at the consulate with different organizations here in Arizona. And we are promoting also mobile consulate like this weekend. We are going to go to Cottonwood, close to Sedona. Normally we will be in a position to offer also legal advice, some of the authorities that are working with the consulate providing the proper information to the community. And I think that's the difference between 2012 and 2010 when people had fear and all the evidence was something that everybody considered, but it's important to check first if it's necessary to move to Mexico. Right now the position of the community is to be informed and to know more about what will be the situation if the law enforcement asks for the papers, what will be the proper steps.

Richard Ruelas: So in 2010, which by the way was when you first got here right?

Victor Manuel Treviño Escudero: Yes, I arrived two days after SB 1070 was signed by Governor Brewer.

Richard Ruelas: Welcome to Arizona! It put you right in the middle of it. So the calls from 2010 were more from residents who were going back to Mexico and asking --

Victor Manuel Treviño Escudero: They are preparing for that. And at that time, we say, "Well, you have to wait until July 2010, because the law was signed, but it's not in effect until July 29th.

Richard Ruelas: But did you get the feeling in 2010 that people were leaving, that people were going back?

Victor Manuel Treviño Escudero: Well, we received more people at that time, and they ask for documents and information about what will be the legal procedure for customs, also what will be the procedures to apply for the children in Mexico. Right now the information is different. People are asking what will be the rights, what will be the sense of this section to beat. They are anxious to have information, the right information, but they are not transpiring some fear like two years ago.

Richard Ruelas: They're not going anywhere. They're not going back to Mexico.

Victor Manuel Treviño Escudero: No, no. They continue working. They continue studying here. They continue to contribute to this economy here in Arizona.

Richard Ruelas: What advice are you giving residents? What do you tell them to do if they're stopped or asked for documents?

Victor Manuel Treviño Escudero: We have this brochure that also includes the new situations after the decision of the Supreme Court, and we are telling them that they have to respect the laws, that the position of the Mexican government here is we respect the laws, and we respect also the right of every state to have their own laws. The point when the Mexican consulate and also the Mexican government is not indifferent is with the situation that the human rights will be violated. As you remember in 2010 a lot of noise about the pressure for filing and also that sense of the Mexican or Hispanic will be detained without any order of the judge or something at that time. Right now, we are in a different situation that we will be checking closely what will be the application of the section 2B, but at the same time we are working very close with the proper authorities, with the police department to know whether the procedures to enforce the law and to inform the people of their rights but also we have the obligation to the Mexican community.

Richard Ruelas: So you're working with police so that they can contact you if there's a situation that arises? You expect that you'll be looped in if someone is detained, if someone is held over?

Victor Manuel Treviño Escudero: Yes. But also to perform properly. The section 2B is not enforced already. We need to wait maybe two weeks more, and the district court has to say, "Okay, that will be the day to implement this law." Also we need to be aware what will be the proper procedures from the police to inform the people correctly and obviously to avoid any misunderstanding about the law. The people are interested to know about it but, at the same time, they continue working or they are planning to be enrolled in the school for the next year.

Richard Ruelas: You discuss respect for the law, and I could imagine there's some segment of the audience and the United States here in Arizona saying, "Well, what is Mexico doing to tell its citizens not to violate the immigration law to come in." What steps does Mexico take to stop the problem in Mexico?

Victor Manuel Treviño Escudero: Yes. We need a reform of immigration, and that has to be shared between the Mexican and the U.S. authorities in a responsible manner. We don't want to have undocumented people here, but the situation is that we already have a large portion of Mexican community working particularly here in Arizona and, most of them, they didn't cross the border without documents. They overstayed their tourist Visa, and they had an opportunity to work. We need to do something to fix this situation, but right now we are aware also about the contributions of the Mexican workers here in Arizona, and it's something that I think is important to balance in this political context. Mexico is still the first trading partner of Arizona with more than $9 billion per year. That's the statistics for 2011. And we are partners in trade. Most of the people that overstayed one night here in Arizona came from Sonora, and it's that 70% of that segment of the tourism . We have flights back-to-back from Phoenix to Mexico to different tourist spots. And we share a lot of commerce in our border, the border of Nogales, for example, represents the first tourist and trade contact with Arizona. And most of the vegetables and fruits that we have on our tables come in from that border crossing. That's important to have a balance in terms of the relation with the department and also that we have people that are working here and contributing to the economy of Arizona.

Richard Ruelas: We'll see what happens as the law goes into effect, see how it affects that delicate balance, and we'll probably have you back to discuss it again. Thank you for joining us.

Victor Manuel Treviño Escudero: Thank you.

Victor Manuel Treviño Escudero:Consul General of Mexico, Phoenix;

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