Dear Mr. President:
Greetings once more from Cecilia Reynolds, born in Monterrey, Mexico and a US Citizen since 1998. Ten years ago I founded the newspaper “Nosotros” in collaboration with Santa Rosa de Lima Catholic Church and local authorities, with the mission of providing free information and orientation to our Mexican immigrants in New Jersey, United States. Recently, I have also instituted the “Center for Immigrant Services”, established with support from the University of Monmouth and thanks to the efforts of its Center for Entrepreneurship, School of Business Administration/ Professor John Buzza.
During your recent visit, Mr. President, I reminded you that it this not the first time I’ve sought contact with you and your government. In February of the year 2008, when I had the honor of meeting you during your first visit to the United States and the Tri-State area as a representative of our nation, I voiced my concern for the calamitous situation that our Mexican prisoners live in, within this country. Since that first encounter, I have repeatedly sent reminders with representatives from your government, when they have visited the area.
- May 13th of 2009 I remitted a letter to then Secretary of Government, Fernando Gómez-Mont Urueta.
- March 29 of 2010 I directed a message to Luis Alberto Villarreal García, President of the Commission of Foreign Relations for North America of the Senate of the Republic, with the same petitions.
- October 13 of 2010 I sent you correspondence with Senator Manlio Fabio Beltrones Rivera, President of the Directive Board of the Senate of the Republic.
The above officials committed themselves to speak with you and inform me of your response. However, the only response received has been silence; and I continue, as do thousands of Mexicans in this land, waiting for the Mexican government to fulfill its promises.
Do you recall our conversation, when you highlighted the necessity of fixing this grave problem domestically first? Unfortunately, on that occasion I could not explain that both situations cannot be considered equal. Let me inform you that our Mexican countrymen in the United States are in a completely disadvantageous situation, devoid of the help that your government can offer them. They are not familiar with the laws, they do not know that they are legally entitled to counsel and to remain silent. They often do not know why they have been detained, and do not speak or understand the language. This contributes to the ignorance and fear that drives them to assume crimes they have not committed and sign documents without knowing that they are destroying their lives and the lives of their families.
The counties to which we provide services are Monmouth, Middlesex, Mercer and Ocean, where there is a high percentage of detained Mexicans. According to data from a report we solicited to the Sheriff’s Office in Monmouth County, during the year 2010 approximately 6,000 Mexicans were incarcerated. As I mentioned during your last visit, the majority of inmates in this State are still undocumented Mexicans, whose families cannot visit them because of restrictions that different prisons impose.
Mr. President, your Mexican people -humble and honorable workers -, obligated by poverty, lack of employment and now pervasive violence, travel thousands of kilometers to reach places as far as New Jersey, living a tragedy before the indifferent eyes of their native country. Take a look at the story of Juan and Alicia (https://www.youtube.com/PeriodicoNosotrosTV) so that you may get a grasp on their unfortunate reality.
I know, and would like to remind you once more, that your people located in New Jersey are completely forsaken and abandoned by their own nation. We have reached a degree of desertion that airlines like the one in Oaxaca refuse to receive or transport the remains of compatriots that tragically lose their lives. Likewise, the obtainment of official documents has continuously been an impossible task, full of obstacles and limitations.
I implore you to consider the following measures:
1) That the Mexican government jointly collaborate with the Counties where organizations that work for the Mexican people already exist. We need you to establish a program, where Mexican professionals can strengthen the positive work that non-profit organizations like “Nosotros/Center for Immigrant Services” carry out to alleviate the obstacles that our compatriots confront.
2) That you provide us with an interdisciplinary team entrusted with educating innocent wives and children, affected by the trauma of seeing their husbands and fathers imprisoned, so as to give them the psychological and social help they urge. To date, the only concrete assistance I have received to aid our people has been solely from American people, organizations and local authorities.
3) That a massive awareness campaign be set forth, to teach parents of children born in the United States the procedures required for the obtainment of Mexican Citizenship, an important attribute if they decide to return to their country.
4) That your consular services be updated. Even though we have managed –and I say “we”, because it has been the result of joint labor between the Consulate and this civil servant- to give passports to more than 100 thousand Mexicans that have finally come out of the shadows, it is important to stress that the monthly presence of a Consulate on Wheels is not sufficient support. Permanent Consulates, on the other hand, do not offer efficient services, adapted to the existent necessities of our community.
Let me inform you that the authorities of Monmouth County –with whom I have been working for the last 10 years- are in the best disposition to collaborate with your government. We at “Nosotros/Center for Immigrant Services” also offer our services and establishment without reservations, so that programs like the ones we are soliciting may be instituted.
I make a desperate plea for all of our people detained in prison because of minor infractions, unjustly labeled as terrorists. I exclaim for the innocent women and children in broken homes, who are becoming abandoned. I cry for our dead, refused and exiled from the soil that witnessed their birth. I ask for the families, men and women who are undocumented and sleep with hopes of someday obtaining equality.
Millions of Mexicans yearn for the fulfillment of what you have manifested:
"With complete respect of every nation’s sovereignty, México will continue to favor the reinforcement of its relations with foreign organizations of Mexicans, particularly with those who make an effort to contribute to the improvement of their country of origin”, so as to achieve the objective of “Protecting and actively promoting the rights of Mexicans in the exterior”.
[National Plan for Development (2007-2012)]
We await your prompt response.
Nosotros Newspaper/Center for Immigrant Services
Asbury Park, NJ