In the United States, the electronic raids, which represents a red focus for the Mexican community, said the consul of Mexico in Chicago, Reyna Torres Mendivil.
In an interview, the diplomat explained that these raids, although they are not new, imply, for the consulate in charge, being more alert and in constant communication with local authorities, in order to detect Mexicans who are affected by such situation .
Electronic raids are applied by the US federal authority based on information taken from companies that are dedicated to recruit people to send them to different work centers. The authority goes to the companies that recruit, take the databases and thereby identify where employees and potential irregular migrants have been distributed.
Torres Mendivil, who arrived six months ago in Chicago, considered that situations such as new types of raids make the Mexican community feel insecure and do not even want to leave home.
How have you worked in the current context of the United States?
—There are several issues here, and I think the most important is to be sensitive to what is happening at the local level and what are the most pressing needs of our community. Of course, depending on each constituency the context changes; We know that there are states in which the issue is much more complex, because there are local provisions and the state or city authorities themselves make our nationals face even more problems when there are anti-immigrant laws locally.
The state of Illinois is a sanctuary state; the city of Chicago is a sanctuary city, which also takes great pride in that, and so things are much easier; that gives us a network of allies that is very important and we are all on permanent alert, trying to detect cases in which, if there were a contest of raids, A difficult case of a family or connational who was in danger, we have the support network with the consulates in general, with the northern triangle of Central America.
In Chicago there is a law that prevents local authorities from collaborating with immigration authorities, but sometimes that law or law enforcement does not permeate even the standing policeman or the policeman in a county who may not have realized You are bound to accomplish this.
We have, then, alliances with local organizations and the state attorney to be monitoring. We also have raids, we had one in a restaurant recently, or these electronic raids, in which the immigration authority takes information from companies that hire employees and send them to work centers and what the immigration authority does now is that it goes and goes It is left with the computers, with the databases to see where the employees are distributed, which can be from balers to restaurants. It’s something that they had for a long time, but now, like the immigration authority It operates in a context in which there is a state and city political will to favor immigrants, they have to get together in other ways.
How to deal with this issue of electronic raids?
—It already existed, in a format called E-verify, but now they go to these centers where they recruit employees and send them to different work centers, so the impact is greater.
In this case, the immigration authority is empowered to do so. What we must verify in these processes, that is why we work hand in hand with the attorney, is that – although it is not for us to intervene, because we are a foreign government – there is consular notification and that we have access to our nationals and we see that the processes occur according to US law, besides there is no discrimination or violation of human rights because they are undocumented or Mexican nationals.
Has the number of Mexicans in detention centers and deportees increased?
“We have not detected a significant increase.” There were threats of raids a few months ago. Chancellor Ebrard He was very present and we had several calls for coordination anticipating what could happen, but they ended up only in an element of fear and deterrence, which is what the US authority is also looking for. This is important, because this climate affects us in other areas where we see more and more hate crimes.
Likewise, this situation of constant fear, of uncertainty, affects the mood of our community, because we do not know what will happen to the boys who have deferred action, DACA, the dreamers, who are now in the Supreme Court, and we are waiting to see what happens; the issue of raids in all its modalities and threats.
There are several focuses there, and this of course will affect the mood of our community. It seems to be a simple thing, but no: this feeling of not being able to leave, of feeling fear, affects families and children very much.
How did it go with the budget cuts?
—It’s always a challenge… I have some peace of mind that the chancellor and the people of the financial affairs unit have been very careful, and of course the undersecretary, so that there is no excuse for not addressing a protection case , because that is the priority. When there has been a need in terms of raids, separated families, there the issue is to always attend to what is possible. We seek local alliances and get help from other sources; however, the chancellor has been very clear: on these issues we will not skimp. We have been in need of reorganization to continue being efficient in other areas. For example, the scholarships we give to our young people, there we are seeing how we do it to attract locally, so as not to leave those who have received the benefit of the scholarships homeless. We have allies in the Legislative and it is something that will have to be considered in future budgets.
This year there are elections in the United States, what strategy will be managed?
—Of course hate speech affects us: in Chicago we have had at least three cases of xenophobic situations in the six months I have been here. A young man was hit on a bus for being Mexican; a motorcyclist who went with the flag of Mexico was attacked by a motorist … Anyway. This keeps us permanently alert, but we have an alliance with the Anti-Defamation League, which has trained not only the consulate staff, but also the leaders of our community, with the aim that we can detect hate crimes, let us know how and who to report and how to follow up.